Against All Odds / Crossroads / Man vs Nature / marketing / writers / writing

#IWSG–Marketing My Latest Book

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s optional question — If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

I’m going to skip the question this month though I encourage you to visit other posts on this blog hop. Participants always have interesting ideas on Alex’s questions.

Instead, I’ll review the blog hop I just finished that kickstarted my latest prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Book 3 in my trilogy, Crossroads

How’d my Virtual Book Launch Go?

I have launched each of my six fiction books virtually with a blog hop. Blogging is the social media that works best for me. Each year, I tweak how I do the book blast. Here are my thoughts on this year’s efforts:

  • Social media links–I wanted to do more to give back to those willing to support my marketing efforts. To that end, besides my usual links to each participant’s blog and their latest book, I also provided links to their social media and encouraged visitors to click these.
  • Writer’s network--By visiting these links, new/experienced writers can build their network with what I know to be a great group of folks who have proven they are willing to support each other.
  • Share posts on SM--I shared the participant posts to my social media–Twitter, FB, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. I noticed a lot of folks did the same. That’s a great way to make the social media giants think the Universe is talking about our books!.
  • Prep took longer than I expected–I work from home and often spent much of the day (with the usual interruptions) shining up my launch, articles, social media, marketing materials, outlets, and more. I kept a ToDo list that seemed never to run out. Sigh.
  • Not only prep but participation once the tour launched took longer than I expected--My routine is to reply to posts on the host’s blog (of course), visit whoever commented, and get to know them a bit by replying to one of their posts on their blog. This took a lot of time–3-4 hours a day–but I met some amazing writers and readers. I’d highly recommend this to anyone relying on word-of-mouth as their main marketing strategy.
  • Provide more guidance–Some authors want to help but don’t understand how a virtual book launch works. A few didn’t even know they were supposed to post an article. Every year this happens and every year, I ignore it. Next year (for the launch of Laws of Nature in Fall 2021), I need to put together a video showing how a book launch works and what a participant’s part in it is. My goal is to not only promote my new book but everyone who agrees to help me. That does take work on both sides but is well worth it.
  • Blog required–My virtual book launch really requires a blog. Lots of authors don’t do blogs. I’ve had participants post to their FB page but those are often private so it doesn’t work. Twitter–it just gets lost in the noise. Any suggestions?
  • Confusion with the table–I didn’t realize until I was a few days into the book launch that embedding a Google Doc into a WordPress blog caused it to open within the host blog. Which wasn’t good. The viewable section was too small. That’s why I added the note. I need another solution.
  • My TBR pile exploded--I mentioned that I always visit people who comment on host blogs. Often, I end up buying their Indie books. I now have a huge backlog of novels to read and review. Stay tuned for those in the near future.

Question: I included social media links in hopes that efriends would connect. Were they useful to you? Did you click through and add any of these folks to your network? Just curious to see if I should include them next time.

BTW, I took a poll of Indie authors to see what you do to market your books. I reviewed the results here. They were pretty interesting!

A side note: Somehow I lost my writer’s newsletter (don’t ask me how because I just can’t explain it). If you had subscribed to that, would you mind re-subscribing by clicking this link? Thanks so much.

More on marketing your books:

5+1 Great Book Marketing Tips That Won’t Cost Anything

Book Review: Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing

12 Surprises I Found Marketing My Debut Novel, To Hunt a Sub

#iwsg #amwriting #marketing


More on #IWSG

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature Fall 2021. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

116 thoughts on “#IWSG–Marketing My Latest Book

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  10. Do I ever need your outline on how you did your book launch!! Mine’s coming up in January and cannot set down to figure out how to build the buzz around it. I’ll probably get serious about it on January 1. Just kidding!! I’ll be checking back to absorb all your tips. Thank you.
    JQ Rose

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Very well-written post!

    Google Docs are great for a lot of things. Pasting from them into WordPress or Blogger is NOT among the greatness. I suggest notepad. If you don’t have this most basic tool, go to Twitter and type a direct message to someone (create a second account and message yourself if you have to). Copy and paste to the blog from that.
    You could also try pasting using Ctrl+Shift+V, which is pasting without formatting.
    If none of this is solving your issue, try wording the question another way and including HTML in the search. Assuming that you know enough HTML to understand the code that comes up.
    If you were making a table, the HTML codes were things like table, body, td, tr.

    I don’t know if I helped here. Or made sense.
    But I really enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi, Jacqui! I appreciated all the feedback you’ve given in your post today. You made it so easy to host you and your book. I’ve been taking notes along the way on how to do a launch. Watching you in action was a real education on the process.

    When I host someone, I want to have read at least one of that person’s books. I’m halfway through “Survival of the Fittest” again ~ just at the point that Rainbow is about to split with the main group. “The Quest for Home” arrived yesterday, but I am still waiting on “Against All Odds.” I’m hoping I can read them one after another.

    I did click through to other reviewer’s blogs, and I checked all the social media links you sent. I had trouble with them, and perhaps it was the Google docs problem you shared above. I hunted everything down and made new links that worked. I just thought it was me, because technology stuff always has me tearing my hair out. I did snag an answer to a question on someone else’s blog and added it to the questions on mine because I thought it went well with the questions you sent me. And you probably noticed I added graphics and changed the wording of a couple of questions (not the sense) to fit my post better. Don’t even ask how I got the map ~ LOL, but I love maps!
    I did put a post up on Facebook about your book, by linking my Facebook post to my blog post on you book. That’s all the other social media I got to.

    I really appreciated how you replied to comments posted on “our” post. I wasn’t anticipating that!

    Alex said recently that the best way to get help with launching a book is to help others with theirs. That was probably what launched the IWSG. I do try to read IWSG members’ books and review them. Mostly I do it to give back to the IWSG; but if I get to publish a book, I’m hoping some people remember that I read theirs!

    I think you’re amazing. I don’t know how you do it! Sorry this is so long. At the rate I’m going, I’m going to be up all night! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m an absolute failure at book marketing. It always amazes me when I encounter writers who have like 25+ people at the ready for every cover reveal, book launch, book tour, etc. I’m too afraid of creating an awkward situation if the person refuses when asked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I don’t ask because I’m afraid in the same way. I just put it out there and see who’s willing to help. I do participate in other book launches whenever I can. Like my most recent, for Diana Peach. It’s really fun to be part of the success of fellow authors.


  14. I was really impressed by the organization of your blog tour, and the way you supported your blog hosts! Nice work!
    I think every social media outlet has it’s own way of working. I’ve seen other authors do really well with Instagram posts by highlighting Instagram book reviews on their feed, but setting those up is something I’m still learning to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jacqui, a terrific explanatory and detailed post … the work involved is phenomenal! Both beforehand and during the tour and I’m in awe of all who manage it and keep up to date with comments, sharing etc! Well done on yours and I look forward to the video next year. Happy Reading … when you have a chance to catch up on your recent purchases!😀

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Jacqui – such an interesting read for me … and I’ve yet to get round to your other bloghop posts. I’ll be writing my review/comments on your book – as I’ve quite a lot to say … but I’ll get there eventually. I’ll email re a couple of other things – and will wait til later in the week, or even next week.

    I just love the people who participate in the IWSG … and admire Alex and all the other hosts who have helped so much over the years … Alex definitely deserves a chocolate medal or something!

    Take care – and see you around and bout soon … Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Social media has always been my best bet when it comes to promoting my products. I am not a writer, so I can’t say for certainty what would work best for promoting books though. I do want to congratulate you on your book tour though!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I hope your blog tour was successful and your information included here is so valuable! I just finished Against All Odds…wow! It left me satisfied but still hoping for more, Jacqui. I plan to publish a post for your tour in early October. I plan to write and share my review there as well as send it to Amazon and Goodreads! I love the idea of blog tours and agree that blogs are a better way to market our books. I told my Hubby that I have discovered and read indie authors’ works as a result of reading their blogs. And it’s great to support the indie community and their blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for recapping your tour, along with what worked and what didn’t. I’m not nearly as organized as you, this all sounds kind of overwhelming! Generally, I book with a promotional tour company and let them handle the details. I think the biggest thing is that I hate asking for help, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I loved being a host for your Against All Odds launch blog hop tour. Your preparation of what you wanted people to read and learn was helpful for me to post. I was happy to see so many people come to the blog and find out about you and your books. Personally, I have hired blog tour people to help me. I would not know how to go about all the details you include in your launch. Daunting task. When I have done a blog tour I find ones that include book reviews. I think having your book reviewed before the blog tour and posting the reviews helps new readers buy. Having a video to help your book bloggers is a good idea too. I was not sure how or what you wanted me to put on blog so I just figured it out. I loved reading Against All Odds and would have loved to read it before your launch so I could write a review for the blog tour. Next time… would love to read, review and host your new book. I learn a lot from you and appreciate the support you give my books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your blog tour folks were great. I learned a lot about alternatives participating with them. Thanks for the feedback on mine. I’m hoping to make it eve better next year, for Laws of Nature. I’d be happy to send you an early review copy for that one if it still works into your schedule. That’ll be next Fall I think.


  21. I was thoroughly impressed with how organized and comprehensive your virtual book launch was. It’s impressive to have such a large stable of writers behind you. Not only does that provide support for you, but I think it adds credibility.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Hi Jacqui, I appreciated you included the links to my blog. Diana even offered to include a link to one blog post but I said the launch is all about her book, not about my blog.

    I think many blogger friends want to take part and help but as you said they didn’t quite know what to do. I visited a few blogs but they had something else, not your book lunch.

    I’m a member of a book club and I had a book tour of my book as well as hosting many book tours. What the club asks me to do is to create a Word doc of each post of the 5 to 10 days tour in the order I want to appear on the hosting blogs. They can just copy and paste on their posts but insert various images. They charge for the clients but hosts do it for free, so they try not to make the work hard on the hosts.

    I’ll host your book launch again next year. It was fun for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I found it so interesting to read about your thoughts on your blog hop and marketing. I’m also frustrated by the lack of author bloggers to connect with. And I agree with your frustrations with Twitter. Maybe you should add a blog hop with a book review blog service that reviews books in your genre to increase your exposure to new readers. I’ve been trying to read more and connect with reviewers in MG and YA.

    I’m also trying out new blog hops hosted by different bloggers to see if this can help reach new followers and maybe later readers if I ever get published.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did once contact authors in my genre (prehistoric fiction). It’s so small, that wasn’t too challenging. I didn’t get much response, nor did it stick in the long run. Sigh.

      I like the idea of blog hops. If you find one you like, let me know. I just dropped one for varied reasons and am looking for a new one.


  24. I do this for my virtual book tours too, Jacqui. It is lots of work but lots of fun too. I was thinking that maybe you could tailor your launch for twitter and Facebook. Instead of doing a post you could do an advert. I don’t know if you’ve seen some of mine that have a short quote with the details of the purchase platforms and the cover of the book. I find these work quite well for me. Actually, I think this is a good idea and I’m going to do this for my next book. Thanks for the good idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. This post is very informative and helpful to me. I’m still in the process of editing my first book, but once I’m ready to put it out there, it’s good to know what I can do to market my work. I think in this digital age, especially during this time where so many of us work from home and/or rely on technology to do our work, it’s important for writers to know how to gain an audience and connect with readers and other writers.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. You’re early on the IWSG post, Jacqui. Another example of how organized you are and how much time and work you put in all these posts. I’ve followed along with your book launch tour and kept thinking about this time investment for you. I love how you went about it and how you wrote articles and hugely participated in the event, but I’m positive it took away tremendously from your writing time.

    Your blog tour has inspired me to come up with a plan for my launch as well. I totally liked your approach – the reach, the different topics, the posts themselves, linking to them on your own blog (and closing comments here – I think that hugely helps the participating blogs by having new people comment there) and to books and SM of the participants. But… as I mentioned before, it takes heaps amounts of time to prepare and interact, especially if you then visit new blogs of new commenters.

    As it is now, with blogging, I spend many hours a week reading blogs and leaving comments, as a result of playing a part in this community. I could see this turn into a full-time job during and after the launch. Not sure whether I’m ready for that!!

    Thank you for sharing all your ideas about the launch, what works in regards to marketing, and this overview!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I am early! I’ve noticed a few people do it–not many–but I like getting something out on my blog Mondays. I hope Alex doesn’t ding me!

      I know what you mean about the time commitment to blogging. I have been forced to only interact with those who interact with me. I used to reach out, try to develop friends, but that has fallen away. Now, all I can do is spend enough time on their blog to get the essence and then comment appropriately. I don’t subscribe until I’m sure the relationship is there.

      Luckily, I truly enjoy the time I spend on other’s blogs. I learn so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Since I’m a total copy cat, Jacqui… I’ve noticed the same and I’m only on Day 3. Lol. It was very time consuming to set up and get all the links in place. I didn’t insert a tour table because I didn’t know how. But it seems like maybe that was for the best anyway.

    One thing I did was offer to have a drawing and make a trailer for one of the hop site’s book or blog. We’ll see how that works out. I considered adding anyone who reblogs but it started getting complicated, so I’m going to stick with the bloggers who signed up, which is what I said I’d do.

    I noticed that the preorder was key. I would definitely suggest making a book available for preorder with a soft launch of a trailer. The trailer brought a lot of preorder sales, so doing those hand in hand a week or two before launch was key! I think it helped with sign-ups too.

    Post launch, I’m going to take a month off from writing, just to read all the books that I’ve already picked up… the books from launch participants first. I’m going to give myself a book-a-day challenge for the month of October. I think “giving back” is a huge part of this and will ensure lots of enthusiasm next time too.

    So, that’s what I learned from trying to emulate you. Thank you so much for leading the way, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  28. You are so organized, Jacqui, and I love the up close look at your tour. I always find blogging to make for the most successful book launches as well.

    To be honest, I didn’t click through on the links. I think it’s a great idea, but it’s hard to stay on top of my regular blog visits. If I visited a new blog (because it linked from one of YOUR posts), I did poke around while I was there. And I do add new blogs regularly. I recently hooked up with three new bloggers (who are now part of my regular visits) by connecting through a mutual friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I was busy at the time of this blog hop, Jacqui, so was unable to participate. However, having participated in two of your previous blog hops, I would say that you make it very easy for any blogger joining in. You do all the hard work, which I appreciate. I guess that way you make sure the posts are just what you want them to be and have some control over the process. Not all authors are as accommodating, so I appreciate the extra you put in. I do often click through to other posts and follow SM links, so enjoy having those there. I look forward to the launch of your next book and wish you success with all.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Some interesting thoughts and insights on your tour, Jacqui. I now know for my next launch I’ve got a hell of a lot more work in organising a “tour”. This release, I tentatively asked three friends to shout my book, but that was all. Others did reblogs and reviews, but I didn’t tour nearly as hard as I could’ve. Live and learn I guess.

    I’m going to pop over and check out the Writers Support Group, as I’m intrigued. I don’t, as a rule, join groups and things, but I’ll just have a little peek at what it’s all about 😊 (mostly because I love the monthly question you posted at the top of the blog)!

    Liked by 3 people

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