Ripping Ozzie Reads

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Posts Tagged ‘Promoting your book’

How do readers connect with a book (by a new author)?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on October 14, 2011


My guess is that the greatest service we can do a book is to talk about it - on our blogs, to our friends, when we are on panels and to bookstore staff. Let people know the book is out there and it's good!

George Ivanoff did a post about  book trailers for ROR recently.  Nigel commented that his reading forum were discussing this and:

1) Most people didn’t even know book trailers existed

2) Those that did know they existed did not seek them out

3) Some book trailers were obviously more interesting to watch than others, but no one believed that this was likely to influence what books they ended up purchasing


I chimed in with the point that people under 20 reacted well to book trailers. Nigel agreed, but argued this didn’t mean that they went out and bought the book, as they were looking on the trailer more as a short movie.

So how do readers connect with a book (by a new author) before they make the decision to buy it?

The following is in no way scientific, but a guess:

  • 75% recommendations from friends (In this I include blog sites where readers follow a certain reviewer as that reviewer becomes the equivalent of a trusted friend – at least where books are concerned).
  • 10% from book staff. (Those little tags on shelves and Indy stores where they know the staff)
  • 5% from reading a blog post when the author does a guest post somewhere that arouses their interest, or reading their tweets and thinking they sound intriguing.
  • 5% from reviews (the old fashioned kind in newspapers)
  • 5% from picking up the book because the cover is interesting, reading the blub/front page and taking a chance on a new author

(It does add up to 100%, I checked. Some years ago I embarassed myself on a panel doing a quick breakdown of my reading genre habits but the total didn’t reach 100% and of course, someone in the audience pointed this out).

You’ll notice I haven’t included book trailers in this. That’s because the reader would have to seek them out on You Tube, which means they have to know about the book to find the trailer. The other way they would come across the book trailer is on a blog review site, or the writer’s own web site. So the reader is already engaging with the book/author at this point.

If a reader comes across the book trailer at this stage and, like the review or the author’s tweets, it appears in intriguing then the trailer would contribute towards the reader’s decision to buy that book.

As I said, this is all guesswork. What I’d like from you ‘gentle reader’ is your input on what influences you to take a punt on a new author’s book. Have I given too much credence to traditional reviews in newspapers? I must admit, I’ve bought only two books in my life, based on newspaper reviews and both were nonfiction.

Over to you…

Posted in Authors and Public Speaking, Book Launches, Book Trailers, Covers, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book | Tagged: , , , , | 55 Comments »

Book Trailers — Are they worth the effort?

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on September 17, 2011

This week George Ivanoff, Award Winning author of the Gamer’s Quest series (YA fiction) talks about book trailers ….

Watch out for the give-away at the end of the post.

George Ivanoff


There has been much debate about the relevance of book trailers. Are they a worthwhile investment of time and money for publishers and authors? Do they actually sell books? Does anyone watch them?

Well, I don’t have any definite answers for you. Sorry! But I do have a few observations based on personal experience.

I had my first trailer made for my 2009 teen novel, Gamers’ Quest. I had no idea if it would be worthwhile. And I had no budget. After an aborted attempt to make it myself (it was pretty crap), I got some help. Friend and computer animator, Henry Gibbens stepped in and produced a trailer for me, with my brother-in-law, Marc Valko, writing and performing the music. I wanted it to look a bit computer-gamey, as the novel is set within a computer game world, and I wanted music that sounded a bit like a 1980s sci-fi tv show theme. This is the result…

It has been up on YouTube since October 2009, but has had only a little over 800 views. Does that mean it’s a failure? Perhaps if I had spent lots of money on it, it might be considered a poor investment. But I didn’t. So even though it has only had a relatively small number of views (compared, for example, to Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters which has views in the hundreds of thousands), it has at least had some people watching it, and it’s not languishing at the bottom of the heap, as so many trailers are, with views not exceeding 100.

YouTube aside, it has been a very successful trailer for me in another way. As a writer of books for kids and teens, I do school visits, and the trailer has proved to be a great way to capture the interest of a young audience. Starting a school talk with a short video that has computer game-like visuals can seize the attention of the most bored and uninterested of teens. So for this reason alone, I was keen to have a trailer for the sequel, Gamers’ Challenge.

I showed this trailer to a couple of school groups last week. The reaction was fantastic! The trailer is more dynamic that the first, and the music deliberately more upbeat and techno. The feedback from the audience was very positive.

Currency did exchange hands this time around — but I already consider it money well spent, purely because it will be a useful tool in school presentations.

But what about YouTube? The trailer has been up for a little over a week and still has not broken the 100 mark. What do I do?

I’ve posted it on FaceBook and Twitter, and on my blog. But this doesn’t seem to have done a huge amount. In fact, reaction has been slower than when I posted the Gamers’ Quest trailer two years ago. You know what? I think people are gradually paying less attention to videos on FaceBook and Twitter. So much crap has been posted over the last two years, that people are more reluctant to click on a vid, and, in fact, will often bypass them without even registering what they are.

Certainly, my use of FaceBook has changed over the two years that I’ve been using it. When I first started, I used to religiously log in every morning and check my friends’ updates… and again at the end of the day. As the months rolled by, and my ‘friends’ list expanded, I started to skim rather than read. Another few months down the track I divided my friends up into groups, so that I could keep track of those who made interesting posts, while bypassing those who status updates consisted of what they had for breakfast. And still, FaceBook was eating up my time (it is, I am convinced, the Black Hole of the Internet)— time that should have been spent writing. So now, I glance at the status updates every couple of days, and look up genuine friends when I’m thinking about them and wondering what they are up to. Do I ever look at videos posted to FaceBook? Rarely!

If this is the way I use FaceBook, how can I expect to get lots of people looking at the videos that I post?

So where does that leave me and my trailer with regards to YouTube? I’m not a big-name-author with a high-profile book published by a large publisher that can afford a big-bucks trailer that is guaranteed immediate and constant attention. But I need to get people to watch my trailer… otherwise why bother having it up there?

Talking to other authors and trailer makers, I’ve discovered something. Even though a book trailer is a piece of promotion for a book, it also needs to be promoted. You need to let people know that the trailer exists… and you need to tell them repeatedly. If they see a link to it often enough, and if you tell them interesting things about it, then they are more likely to invest their time in watching it.

But I hardly have enough time to promote my book, let alone a video about my book! I hear you scream. But promoting your book trailer is simply another way of promoting your book. And believe me, after the umpteenth interview and gazillianth guest blog post, I need something a little different to say in order to interest my readers and maintain my sanity.

And so, here I am, telling you about my experiences with book trailers in the hope that you, my dear, dear, readers, will all spare a couple of minutes to go and watch my latest book trailer. And hopefully, if you actually like it, you may tell other people about it. Or, if I’m very lucky, it may inspire you to seek out and purchase a copy of my book (titled Gamers’ Challenge, just in case you’ve forgotten).

But I’m not relying solely on the readers of Ripping Ozzie Reads to boost my YouTube status. I will be writing about this trailer whenever I get the chance, to as many different outlets as possible. This article is the first of many!

Will all of this boost the trailer’s views and hence sell some more books? Time will tell! In the meantime, excuse me while I go check YouTube to see if anyone else has watched it.  😉

George is giving away 2 copies of Gamer’s Challenge.

Give-away Question: If you could replace the music on the Gamers’ Challenge trailer with a pop song, what would it be?


George Ivanoff is a Melbourne author and stay-at-home dad, best known for his Gamers series of teen novels. Gamers’ Quest won a 2010 Chronos Award and is on the reading list for both the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge and the NSW Premier’s Reading Challenge. Gamers’ Challenge was released this month by Ford Street Publishing.

George spends most of his time writing books for the primary school education market, and also writers a regular bookish blog, Literary Clutter for Boomerang Books online bookstore.
More information about the Gamers books is available on the official website.
More information about George and his writing is available on his website.

Posted in Artists, Australian Spec Fic Scene, Book Launches, Book Trailers, Collaborating, Creativity, Musicians, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book, Publishers, Publishing Industry, Sales, Visiting Writer, Writing for Young Adults | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Creative Marketing for Indie Authors

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on May 7, 2011

This week ROR welcomes Jennifer Willis,  an indie author who’ll be talking about marketing: Take it away, Jen …

Watch out for the give-away question at the end of the post

If you’re an indie author, chances are you don’t have a huge budget for marketing your book. As independents, we simply don’t have access to the same resources and advertising departments that traditional publishers have at their disposal. But that doesn’t mean you can’t compete. You may just need to get a little creative about your marketing, and then rely on the power of the internet and social media to fuel your grassroots campaign.

Below are some strategies from my own marketing plan for “Valhalla.” Some of these I’ve already put into play, and others are coming soon. (Word to the wise about indie marketing: No matter how slick your plan is or how successful your strategies turn out to be, it will still always, *always* take longer than you think!)

* Friends & family money-back-guarantee

This idea came from my boyfriend. He suggested that we come up with a list of 100 friends and family members and offer them a money-back-guarantee on the $2.99 “Valhalla” ebook. I laughed and thought this was really cute at first, but then I realized how smart it was. Even if everyone on the list agreed to participate and then ended up hating the book, very few people are going to quibble over $3. As it’s turned out, no one has asked for money back — and if you play your cards right and line up enough people to buy your book within the first 24 hours of its release, you can seriously bump up your sales rank.

NOTE: I’m making about $2 off of every $2.99 book that’s sold. If one of my “friends & family readers” did decide to ask for a refund, I’d lose a dollar on that sale (refunding my $2 in royalties plus another $1 out of my own pocket to make up the difference in sales price). So if you put out a really bad book and everyone wants their money back, you’re looking at a deficit.

* Leave print copies of your book in strategic locations

This idea comes from indie bands, who used to surreptitiously stuff their CDs into the racks at music stores. If those CDs then sold, the artists made no money off of them — since they’d essentially “donated” the CDs to the stores — but it was a way to get new people listening to their music. So every once in a while, I’ll leave print copies of my first novel, “rhythm,” lying around in strategic locations. I’ve left copies in libraries, in bookstores (where I later went back to confirm that “rhythm” had been put on the store shelves), hotel rooms when I’m traveling, coffee shops and the like. I’ve left copies of “rhythm” all over Ireland when I’ve vacationed there, and my boyfriend took a few copies to Las Vegas on a recent trip. I’ve even left a copy in a Subway restaurant.

I don’t make any money off of these “free range” copies of my book, but you never know who might pick one up and start reading.

* Bookmarks

Just a like a business card, a bookmark highlighting your new book helps to generate interest. You can distribute these to people you meet at parties, on the bus, at the grocery store or wherever, giving them a physical reminder later to look up your book and maybe even buy a copy.

Also, these bookmarks can be distributed in guerrilla-like fashion — left in books returned to the library, furtively slipped inside books in your genre at the bookstore, left on your seat on the train, etc.

This is one of those strategies I’ve not yet tried yet, but I’ve seen others use this to great effect. I’m looking for a good printing service for my bookmarks — though if you’ve got a higher-end printer at home or come up with a design that isn’t heavy on graphics, there’s no reason you couldn’t print up your own bookmarks and start handing them out right away.

* Talk to people

This may seem like a no-brainer and not terribly creative, because not all writers are shy. But I certainly am, and it can be a challenge for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger or someone I just met — and the pressure of marketing my new book in such a situation can make it even worse.

But if I catch sight of someone who’s using an e-reader, for instance, it’s that much easier — we already have something to talk about. I can simply ask how they like their device, what they do or don’t like to read on it, and then casually — or not so casually — mention I have a new ebook that’s come out. And I can relate my decision to go with e-publishing to what they like most about the device — instant accessibility, saving trees, etc.

Overcoming personal shyness isn’t all that easy, and it helps if you feel truly passionate and excited about your book. When it comes to talking about “Valhalla,” I’ve been surprised to discover myself bursting out of my shell to tell pretty much everyone about it. I’ve joked that maybe I should start wearing a name tag that reads, “Hello! My name is … VALHALLA! Buy it!”

* Blog post exchange
If you’re putting together a blog tour for your book — and really, you should! — one strategy to scoring some screen-time on someone else’s blog is to offer to do a guest post exchange. It’s simple: you write an entry to post on their blog, and they write an entry to post on yours. This cross-promotion gets your name and information about your book in front of the other blog’s readers, while also giving the other blogger access to your readers for a day.

Michelle Rafter’s annual Worcount Blogathon encourages this kind of post-swapping in an effort to help participating bloggers keep their content (and their brains) fresh during the month of blogging every day.

* Stage readings in unusual places

At the grocery store last month, I was surprised to see an author set up just inside the main doors, selling his new book of cartoons, ” Casey and Kyle: So Much For Being On Our Best Behavior!!!” I stopped and talked with Will Robertson about why he was selling his books in a grocery store. He explained that he was going to various grocery and drug stores, setting up his little table and talking to people as they came in — and was selling 100 books a week. (You can read more about this meeting on my blog.)

If there are other indie authors in your area publishing ebooks, consider setting up a joint book reading to promote your work. Since readers can purchase ebooks pretty much anywhere and at any time, you’re not limited to bookstores as venues. You could arrange to do a reading at a local coffee house or bistro, or even stage a guerrilla reading in a public square, street corner or park.

* Book trailer video

Granted, if you have little or no marketing budget, this is probably not going to be a high-end video with lots of special effects. But that’s okay. You can get as silly and as campy as you’d like with this to show your readers that you have a sense of humor — if your book has a humorous bent, all the better.

If your book is more serious in tone and topic, you can go the safer route and stage a Q&A interview with yourself, or perhaps make a mini-documentary to underscore the importance of your topic — and your book — to your potential readers.

If you’re not sure where to post the video of your book trailer once it’s done, have a look at Creative Indie Marketing- Top 15 places to Post Your Videos on the Stardom Bound blog.


Jennifer Willis is an author, essayist, and journalist in Portland, Oregon. In her non-fiction work, she specializes in topics related to sustainability, spirituality/religion, history, and health. Her articles have appeared in The Oregonian, The Christian Science Monitor,, The Portland Tribune, The Writer, Ancestry Magazine,, Skirt!,, Vegetarian Times, Spirituality & Health, and other print and online publications at home and across the globe.
In fiction, she focuses on urban fantasy and playful mayhem. Her new ebook, “Valhalla” is available Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads.

Visit her online at
Give-away Question: “Without his divine powers, Thor has to go to work like everyone else — but he’s a terrible employee. What do you think Thor’s least favorite job would be?”

Posted in Book Giveaway, Book Launches, e-books, Nourish the Writer, Promoting your Book, Visiting Writer | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Author as Performer

Posted by Rowena Cory Daniells on July 12, 2010

Consider this.
Writers are good at writing about people because they sit back and observe them.

They are good at writing because they spend hours alone with their keyboard, conversing with people in their heads.

Now consider this.

Publishers want writers to be ‘personalities’.

Ten years ago, the publisher’s publicist would take that introverted writer, kicking and screaming, and plonk them on a panel at a writers’ festival, or in front of a microphone on live radio. You can bet the writers struggled with that.

So how do they feel now that their expected to do podcasts and promotional videos for You Tube? There’s a New York Times article here on the topic. Perhaps the only thing the fish-out-of-water writer can be thankful for is that not many people will ever find their You Tube effort and watch it.

‘A mother still nursing her 8-year-old: 25,864,943 views; recent best-selling maternal memoirist: 5,124 views.’

According to the same NYT article only .2 percent of readers discovered their last book through a video trailer. Although 4 in 10 teenagers said they liked to see book trailers on book related blogs and 46 percent watched book trailers on You Tube. And a whopping 45 percent bought the book after watching the trailer for it.

Here’s hoping some of those teen readers will find Tansy Rayner Roberts’ new book trailer.  See it here. I know my own trailer (seen here) aroused interest when it was released.

So feel sorry for the modern author.

How about you? Do you like watching book trailers? I must admit I really enjoyed Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. I’m talking about it now, so I guess that is good for the book.

Would you buy a book after seeing a good book trailer?

Posted in Promoting your Book, Publishing Industry | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »