The Business End of Things…Indie Spotlight Karen Banes

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I fell in love with the work of Karen Banes after reading the following quote:

“With the right to publish on your own terms comes the responsibility to publish something worth reading.”
Karen Banes
From  Ten Commandments For The Thriving Writer

Think about that for a moment.

At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want…to publish something worth reading? Karen has compiled her years of knowledge and experience to help other freelance and Indie authors succeed. That’s why I’m excited to bring you this week’s Indie Spotlight: Karen Banes! Check out her author Bio before scrolling down and reading her interview about book marketing!

AUTHOR BIO:

Karen Banes is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, travel, lifestyle and alternative education. She writes articles, website copy, ebooks and the occasional award winning short story.

Her freelance writing has appeared in a range of publications both online and off, including Life Info Magazine, Transitions Abroad, Brave New Traveler, Natural Parenting Group, and Copia Magazine.

She also works as a freelance copy editor and book reviewer, and loves helping other freelance writers and authors by providing editing services and book marketing opportunities over at her website KarenBanes.com.

Today, we talk with Karen Banes about Book Marketing:

How are you publishing your latest book and why?

I’ve self-published How To Start Your Freelance Writing Career From Scratch, and intend to self-publish all future projects unless something drastic changes. I believe it’s getting harder and harder to earn a living as a traditionally published author. The advances are small, the wait time until publication long, and the marketing support for most authors from their publishers is minimal.

As a self-published author you retain creative control of your projects, and can get them to market much quicker. You have to do your own marketing, or outsource it, but at least you know that from the start. I’m not saying self-publishing is right for everyone, but for me, it’s the only way I’d consider publishing right now. I’m very independent, and have a good all-round skill set, including a background in marketing. I’m also pretty good at assessing my own strengths and deciding when to outsource and when to get on the learning curve and work out how to do something myself.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes. I did try and use the Amazon cover creator for one of my Kindle books and it showed. Don’t get me wrong. Amazon’s cover creator is a good version of what it is. It just isn’t an artistic, talented, human cover designer. My cover didn’t look as sharp and professional as I would have wanted. I had that moment when I just had to admit it wasn’t as cool as the other authors’ covers! I went straight off and had a new cover designed.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

Every book, and author, is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing plan. I’d advise authors to learn as much as they can about book marketing and then decide what fits both their book and their personality.

Books I’ve found useful are Marketing Your Book On Amazon and Author Publicity Pack by Shelley Hitz, and How to Sell Your Book Like Wildfire by Rob Eagar.

Just read as many books, blogs and articles about book marketing as you can, and try out strategies until you find something that works for you.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

For a week or so before and after launch, it’s all about the marketing, but outside of that time frame it’s probably 90% writing, 10% marketing. I try to do something each day to market my books. Sometimes it’s researching and writing a guest post, which is quite time-consuming, but other days it might just be sending out a tweet or adding my book to a website like bookmatchers.com or awesomebooks.com.

What is your view on social media for marketing?

I use various social media to a greater or lesser extent, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+.  I think social media can be a valuable part of your marketing plan, but it is just that, part of the plan.  There are other ways to promote your book, and if it’s not carefully managed, social media can be a time suck that provides limited results.

Which social network has worked best for you?

Twitter is my number one professional social network, but that’s probably because I’ve put more time into learning how to use it and building a targeted following on there. I use Twitter to share tips about writing, publishing and books, so the people who follow me are interested in those topics. I know that some book sales have come directly from Twitter because people have messaged me via Twitter to let me know they’ve bought one of my books.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your books?

I don’t have one yet but I intend to create a quotes trailer. It’s not as fancy as a full-on professionally produced trailer, but it’s a personal preference of mine. You basically just pull your favorite quotes from your book and make them into a slide show. I find them quite effective and intriguing as a book buyer so I intend to try one as a book publisher.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

It depends what your objectives are and how you go about it. Offering one book for free if you have others in the same genre/topic area can help sales of the others, for sure (as long as your books are an excellent example of their genre).

There’s been so much buzz about using KDP free promotions to boost sales rankings, but the current feeling among authors I talk to is that these free promos are losing their power. Free downloads no longer boost sales rankings the way they once did, although they may get you a little more exposure.

I recently tried a KDP free promo with a new book and it seemed to give it a boost on the “hot new releases” and “new and popular” lists for its category, which in turn seemed to translate into some post-promo sales so maybe it’s worth it. I’ll keep experimenting.

Which publishing and marketing tasks did you outsource?

I trade editing and proofreading with another author/editor (I’m a trained copy editor and proofreader but it’s always a challenge to edit your own work), and pay for a professional cover design. Everything else, from formatting to marketing, I’ve done myself so far. I may outsource more in the future, but it’s always a case of prioritizing according to the budget available for each project.  The whole point of self-publishing for me (apart from creative control) is maintaining healthy profit margins.

In what formats is/are your book/s available?

Both my books are available for Kindle right now, and will be available for Nook, Sony, Kobo, iPad and most other ereaders by the end of 2013. I’m working on future projects that will be available as both print books and ebooks. If you’d like to hear about new releases and new formats as they become available, you can sign up here.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website:                      http://www.karenbanes.com/

Blog:                            http://www.karenbanes.com/blog.html

Facebook:                    https://www.facebook.com/karen.banes.9

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/KarenBanes

Lnkedin:                       http://www.linkedin.com/pub/karen-banes/56/321/188

Pinterest:                     http://pinterest.com/KarenBanes/

Goodreads:                  http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/14991376-karen-banes

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/karenbanes

Amazon Book Pages:   52 Tips For Freelance Writers

How To Start Your Freelance Writing Career From Scratch

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