Author Archives: Jamie Brazil
Up until this past weekend I’d never heard of Allyson Longueria, publisher of WMG Publishing, but as it turns out she’s a force to be reckoned with, and she has strong opinions on what authors and should and should not do when it comes to marketing.
At the annual RWA Rose City Romance Writers Spring Fling Allyson presented her BEST tips over three hours. It’s been a couple years since I’ve actively marketed my books, so the refresh was great, but the Amazon Ad words advice caught my interest.
Here are my top takeaways from Allyson’s class:
Series always sell better than stand alones, so think about using multiple starting points within your series. If your series has been around for a while consider marketing “anniversary” editions as on-ramps for new readers.
Amazon Ads: YOUR BOOK COVERS need be as chaste as possible – no skin showing or your book will be bounced! “Active Covers” sink in the algorithms, too – classic embrace, dangling bra strap, etc. MORE on Amazon Ad Words later.
As an extreme example– If this was your book cover, it might never see the light of day over at Amazon.
Amazon: Quotes and reviews placed after the blurb, not within the book description. Again, it’s all about the algorithms (until the algorithms change, again).
BundleRabbit is the latest greatest resource for authors who want to curate anthologies and “series starter” bundles with other writers.
Yasiv is another great site you should check out!
Reminder: Your eBooks are a long-tail investment. Don’t spend hundreds on a great cover and skimp on the formatting. The entire package needs to be professional.
Back to Amazon Ads:
We used the Product Display Ad in class.
A daily budget of $10 is standard with click buys between 25-50 cents.
ALWAYS choose manual targeting—auto is too generic.
Add your own key words—things got interesting here! A few dozen keywords? Forget it. To move the needle you need somewhere between 400-600 key words. One attendee said anything less than 700 was useless.
What to add in your 700?
Along with all the usual suspects like “romantic heroes”, “Godesses”, “Witches”, etc. your net should also include:
Authors similar to you, and popular misspellings of their names
Misspellings of your author name
Misspellings of pretty much everything commonly misspelled, as long THE KEY WORD IS RELEVANT TO YOUR BOOK.
Sneaking in non-relevant words is a no-no that will sink your ad in the algorithms.
Finally, real Amazon Ad Word numbers from an editor who does this every day: Allyson shared her data. For around $4.00 she accessed 78,000 views and that equaled 30 clicks.
So far, on all of her campaigns, her authors have earned back the money spent in promotion. When it comes to discoverability, Amazon Ad Words is a new tool that most authors should be considering.
Do you have any additional tips on using Amazon Ad Words? Please share in the comments.
Love stories abound this month, but I know you’re busy. So on a practical, and succinct, note I’ve curated the best stories. Quoted and paraphrased for brevity. Here we go, 60 seconds of IRL love:
“Costco. Bought one tire at a time until I worked up the courage to ask him out.” (17 + years together )
“She was my student. Adult ESL.” (9 years)
“It was after the war. My best friend’s boyfriend’s buddy needed a dance partner.” (50+ years)
“1965 anti-war protest. I was studying to become a priest.” (40+ years)
“Scattering the ashes of deceased husband.” (3 years)
“Knew him from square dancing. We were doing dishes when he threw the dishtowel over his shoulder, got down on one knee and proposed.” (20+ years)
“On the job. Funeral home.” (25 years)
“On the bus, commuting to work. Saw each other every day.” (30+ years)
“Conference. Slept together before our first date.” (15+ years)
“Too broke to take a vacation, I played tourist with my best friend and an acquaintance set up a sailboat trip for us. Met the love of my life.” (50+ years)
“Overseas. Volunteer relief work. I was drawn to his compassion.” (20+ years)
“She put her paw in my hand. Everything went still in that moment.” (6.5 years)
Winter and Wharton and Trump. While many settle into the chilly months with the promise of Superbowl, the Oscars, and, this year, a Presidential Inauguration to pass the time, I’m thinking of Edith. My winter tradition? Rereading Bunner Sisters. Published 100 years ago, this short novella of despair has captured my imagination for years.
What does this have to do with politics?
Well, actually, it’s about Emma-Watson style activism. It’s about Maya Angelou’s Mom and Me and Mom. It’s about a nation — OURS- facing massive divides, as any common ground and unity we once had seems to be shrinking in the rear view mirror of the past.
So this is a blog about finding possibilities in the pages of our favorite books. Even if the tale of the Bunner Sisters is, at least on the surface, depressing as hell.
In a nutshell, two sisters Ann Eliza and Evelina eek out a living in a dingy basement. It’s a hardscrabble existence, but they have each other, until a man, Ramy, enters their world. He brings ideas and possibilities and the sheer audacity of hoping for something more — something other than the steady predictability of their day-to-day lives.
I don’t want to give away the story, but Ramy’s promises give the sisters the courage to take a leap into the unknown. To leave the security they’ve always known — however bleak– for the possibility of something else.
The younger sister leaps into the unknown. In an selfless act of love, her older sister allows her to leap.
Like Maya Angelou’s autobiographical book, there’s a timeless theme of love, loss and reunion in The Bunner Sisters. A theme we might want to reflect on in 2017. Who we voted for in the 2016 election makes no difference at this point. No matter what the future brings, or whatever uncertainties visit our thoughts late at night, we are part of this historic time in the United States. Whatever losses we might feel, we still need to move forward to create possibilities.
To unite. To reunite. To come together as a nation.
Though I haven’t hidden any books around Portland, Oregon, I am leaving you with this link to be swept into the past with Bunner Sisters (free read), so that you might consider the future.
Though See Jane Publish steers clear of politics, the other day I found myself in a line up (Portland is famous for long lines – from donuts to dive bars, there’s ALWAYS a line) discussing strong women in history. The usual suspects came up first: Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany), and Hillary Clinton.
Blame it on the election year. The conversation with strangers made me think about other types of female empowerment… and realize a trend that’s been gaining ground in publishing:
Ever since Gone Girl and the Amazing Amy (capable of appalling feats that make readers love to hate her, and prompted almost 43,000 reader reviews on Amazon) publishers have been chasing those resilient bad girls. Is a new definition of a STRONG WOMAN emerging?
Fast forward to 2016. I just finished Maestra. A 27-year old art house assistant, Judith Rashleigh, wears an aspirational tweed suit as she plays by the rules in the art world she lives and breathes. When she takes on a second job in a champagne bar entertaining older men, her darker side emerges, and is later ignited when she is fired from her job.
Rage becomes her full time job as she plots her revenge. She becomes dangerous and glamorous. Manipulative and lonely. She is decades of complicated with an alcoholic mother and an obsession with 17th century artist Artemsia Gentileshci. I couldn’t help but like her (and Googled all the references to Gentileshci as I read).
Even as her scheming ramps up to murder, and she brutally slices the Achilles tendon of her victim before brutally butchering him to a slow death, I mentally cheered “Go Judith!”
Okay, so this is just fiction, not real life. Yet I have to wonder if the popularity of these heroines—or rather, anti-heroines—is a reflection of the strength many women seek?
I mean, we can’t all be serial killers, but we might occasionally play one in our imaginations, yes?
Or perhaps the conversation I had in line offered a glimpse of the future? Are we reverting back to Lizzy Borden, Lucrezia Borgia, and Marquise de Merteuil (Dangerous Liaisons)? If we are seeing a resurgence of the manipulative bad girl, we may want to take a very close look at who we’re voting for in the upcoming elections.
The older I get, the faster time flies by. Thankfully, this post isn’t about bygone years, plans, and everything I haven’t yet done. It’s about my resolutions for 2016. This brand new year of … oh what the hell… three and a half months have passed and I’m still not setting the world on fire with ambition.
Which is okay. I’m doing abundance resolutions this year: actions that bring me joy.
- Drink coffee from a rainbow unicorn mug every morning (Elwood!). CHECK.
- Send GREAT cards. Not just birthdays, all occasions. E-cards, mailed cards, handmade cards, this year I’ve resolved to show others how much I care for them. With cards. CHECK.
- Sip exquisite tea every day. Chocolate mints, jasmines, bergamots and chamomiles. I began the year with an excellent stash and found some new ones along the way, too. Yet the daily ritual of tea I started back in January has slipped to every few days, or once a week. The tea resolution is going the way of an abandoned gym membership. UH-OH.
Simple goals, not necessarily creative ones. Unlike other years, 2016 is not a year of high individual creativity. It’s about a community effort and using the storytelling skills I’ve been working on for the last 15 years in a new form. In the meantime, I raise my rainbow unicorn mug (filled with tea maybe?) to all who are tackling their 2016 resolutions with gusto. When you arrive, let me know. I’d love to send you a congratulatory card!