guttersnaps by Ramzi S. Hajj

Marketing a Real Book on a Real Book Marketing Platform

“Book writing. Book publishing. Book marketing. Three peas. One pod.”

Hello. My name is Ramzi. My book is out. It’s called guttersnaps: short, short pulp stories for short, short attention spans (volume one).

The publisher is Montag Press out of San Francisco – super nice people putting out super nice books.

I worked hard to write guttersnaps. I worked hard to get it published. And now … it’s time to work hard again to get the book discovered, reviewed, and bought. That’s just part of this writing thing we love to do.

Do you remember the ‘80s ad for HairClub for Men – the one where the dude says “I’m not only the HairClub president, I’m also a client”? Yeah, well, that’s me, but for a book marketing software company. 

You see … I am also the founder of Storiad – your friendly book marketing platform that helps authors build and manage their very own book discovery campaigns.

As you may have guessed, I am using Storiad to get guttersnaps … discovered, reviewed, and bought.

My goal is to sell 10,000 copies (print + ebook + audio) of guttersnaps in the first year.

This blog post is a step-by-step guide on how I am using the Storiad Book Marketing Platform to reach my book sales goal.

Author Page – Getting Organized

The reward of getting all my author-related and book-related information organized on the Storiad Book Marketing Platform is that I get a ready-to-use author page.

Collecting all that info is simple: it’s all about copying & pasting, dragging & dropping, and answering a few questions. Then I’m all set!

Now all my author + book information can be shared with interested readers via my Storiad Author page (kind of like a streamlined author webpage).

The Storiad Author Page

Here is the live version –> Ramzi’s Storiad Author Page.

  • Upfront time commitment: I spent 1 hour getting all the requested author and book information into my Storiad platform.
  • Ongoing time commitment: The Author Page auto-updates as I add new information to my Storiad platform (more details to follow).

Next: Let’s get a customized marketing plan in place to use as a guide to building and running a book marketing campaign

The Book Marketing Plan

I used the Storiad Marketing Plan Wizard to create a customized book marketing plan for guttersnaps. My book marketing plan has three components:

  1. Research
    1. Understanding the market for guttersnaps
    2. Doing research via the Storiad Book Publicity Contacts Database
    3. Doing additional Internet research
    4. Organizing my research into multiple lists
  1. Networking
    1. Creating useful content to share
    2. Engaging my existing professional network via Storiad, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms
    3. Expanding my network
  1. Marketing & Publicity
    1. Creating compelling and informative digital media kits to introduce myself + guttersnaps to prospective book reviewers + book buyers
    2. Writing customized and professional email templates to request book review and book purchase considerations
    3. Sending those emails to the people on my research lists

For each of the three components, I have allocated time to each of my book marketing tasks as outlined in a Storiad blog post called How Do I Sell My Book? An Answer in Four Parts.

As mentioned earlier, my goal is to sell 10,000 copies of guttersnaps in the first year. To do that, I will focus on using my Storiad book marketing platform to get review considerations (from bloggers, reviewers, media, etc.) and bulk sales (from bookstores, book clubs, associations, etc). My book marketing plan helps me stay focused on that goal.

Here’s how it works:

Storiad Marketing Plan Wizard: Launch –> Edit –> Use

  • Upfront time commitment: I spent a total of 3 hours thinking about and researching my book’s market. I adjusted the Marketing Plan Wizard accordingly.
  • Ongoing time commitment: I anticipate making occasional tweaks to my book marketing plan as I receive feedback from my outreach efforts.

Next: Let’s start by creating a bunch of digital media kits to introduce guttersnaps to my target audience of book reviewers and buyers.

Digital Media Kits – The Backbone of a Book Marketing Campaign

The Storiad ePresskit (ePK) is my digital media kit. It is a live WordPress webpage. It is the backbone of my book marketing campaign, the place where I introduce myself and guttersnaps. My goal is to get people to visit my ePK to consider reviewing, recommending, and buying guttersnaps.

With 1 click, Storiad takes all the author + book information I’ve entered, then auto-populates a default ePK template.

Ready to Create a Digital Media Kit

The default ePK template the system generates is 100% editable, so the creative sky is the limit. It’s WordPress-based, so it is familiar to most of us + super easy to use.

I tried to make my digital media kit as simple and informative as possible. There is a book cover, an early review, contact information, and various request links. You can make an unlimited number of digital media kits on Storiad. For starters, I made two versions to test out which one is gaining the most responses from my target audience. 

Version #1 – ePressKit

Version #2 – ePressKit

As I gain (hopefully positive!) reviews and other traction/sales metrics, I will update the ePKs to reflect all that “positive buzz” information.

  • Upfront time commitment: I spent a total of 3 hours creating the “basic” media kit template and the various A/B/C/D versions. 
  • Ongoing time commitment: I anticipate spending about an hour per week making adjustments to my various digital media kits as I gain a better understanding of which messages are/aren’t working with my target audience.

Next. Now that the media kits are ready for their close-ups, it’s time to start working on finding the people/groups most likely to want to read, review, and buy guttersnaps.

Market Research & Contact Lists 

From the research section of my marketing plan, I determined my target audience to be individuals and groups who are interested in:

  • Crime fiction
  • Pulp fiction
  • Noir fiction
  • Literary short fiction
  • Flash fiction
  • Short stories

To find these people, I launch the Storiad Book Publicity Database which has over 50,000 book influencer contact records.

Storiad Book Publicity Database with 50,000+ Contact Records

I searched the database and created the following (preliminary) lists of potential reviewers and buyers of guttersnaps:

  1. Bloggers List
  2. Reviewers List
  3. Magazines List
  4. Newspapers List
  5. Radio List
  6. Book clubs List
  7. Production companies List
  8. Podcasts List
  9. Bookstores List

Research List Management 

On my first pass through the Storiad Book Industry Contacts Database, I was able to organize a total of 1,652 contacts on nine lists. In addition, I supplemented this list with additional research. I also used my own network of contacts. My initial outreach contacts lists have a total of 2,717 people and groups. That’s a pretty good start.

  • Upfront time commitment: I spent a total of 18 hours(!) over 7 days searching the database and making my (preliminary) lists.
  • Ongoing time commitment: This is one of the areas I know will require lots of ongoing work. I am planning on spending a minimum of 6 hours per week going through the database, expanding my Lists, as well as conducting supplemental research on the Internet, as necessary.

Next: Now it’s time to start emailing customized emails the people on my lists w

Email Outreach Templates

In the Storiad Email Outreach App, I started by accessing relevant preloaded email outreach templates. I made my edits to each template and saved them as follows: 

  1. Bloggers Email
  2. Reviewers Email
  3. Magazines Email
  4. Newspapers Email
  5. Radio Email
  6. Book clubs Email
  7. Production companies Email
  8. Podcasts Email
  9. Bookstore Email

Select the List to Message

Select the Email Template

Edit + Send the Email

The Storiad Email App works like Mailchimp (with one important difference – noted below). As you can see, the Storiad system auto-populates the templates with information from my Storiad platform as well as from my contacts.

I’ve customized each email template to make sure it is professional, respectful, and speaks directly to the content needs of the recipient. After all is said and done, I am sending a business proposition to these people.   

I will be following-up on my initial messages in the coming weeks.

  • Upfront time commitment: I spent (roughly) one hour writing each of my 8 email templates, so that’s a total of about eight hours setting up my email templates. 
  • Ongoing time commitment: This is also another area that will require ongoing time commitments. I plan on spending a minimum of 7 hours a week in my email outreach campaign PLUS the super important follow-up emails to previously sent messages. 

A friendly note: With Storiad, you have to send each email individually , so there is no “email blast” option you get with other systems like Mailchimp. This helps the author focus on each message sent. The more personalized and customized the email, the higher the probability it will resonate with its intended recipient.

So things are humming along nicely. I am getting my media kit out to lots of people who will help me spread the word about guttersnaps.

Next: And now to schedule a virtual author event.

Scheduling an Author Video Event

I’ve scheduled an initial live “Author Reading” video event using the Storiad video app to read the first ten stories from guttersnaps, answer any questions readers might have, collect emails, and hopefully get people interested in purchasing a copy for themselves.

Scheduling a Video Event

I plan on expanding this part of my book marketing campaign, as live author events at places like bookstores are on hold (not to mention it’s a boatload less expensive than attending live, in-person events!) My goal is to host a live video event every four week (or so).

  • Upfront time commitment: Setting-up a video event is pretty quick: 10 minutes, tops.
  • Ongoing time commitment: The time commitment for Video Events comes with promoting the event, preparing for it, and then hosting the video event. I also plan on following-up with friendly thank you emails to the attendees.

Networking + Creating Discussion Groups

Most of us are on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, LinkedIn, etc. So we are well on our way. My only contribution to the networking discussion is to reinforce the idea that creating original content is a great way to expand your name recognition, your credibility, and hence your network’s reach. 

Here is a nice article from Jane Friedman on how authors can become better networkers.

On the Storiad networking app, I’ve created a Group called “Pulp & Noir Fiction” and invited other Storiad members to join. It’s quick to do and should be managed as you would any other networking group (e.g. LinkedIn or Meetup). 

Creating a Discussion Group

Upfront time commitment: The upfront time commitment for Networking will vary – depending on how many networking platforms you’re already on. 

Ongoing time commitment: I plan on comitting 3 hours per week to managing my networking strategies on Storiad, Twitter, and Goodreads. In time, I will expand to my other platforms. That three hours will mostly be dedicated to creating engaging content to share with my network (like this post!) 

Next: Let’s talk money management.

Managing the Finances of Your Book Marketing Campaign 

From the Storiad Dashboard, I downloaded a Google Sheets Title Profit & Loss (P&L) spreadsheet to help me keep track of my campaign finances. 

Under the ‘Calculators” section on your Storiad Dashboard, you can also find and/or download the following helpful tools:

  • What’s My Book worth?
  • Royalty Calculator
  • 1-Page Marketing Plan
  • Marketing Plan Planner

Manage Your Book Marketing Campaign’s Finances

  • Upfront time commitment: I was able to get my Title P&L up and running in about 30 minutes
  • Ongoing time commitment: Revisit your Title P&L on (at least) a monthly basis to update your sales & expenses figures – 30 minutes per month.

Continuous Learning – The Key to Better Book Marketing

If you’re serious about the business of your book, then you understand the importance of working to expand your understanding of how book marketing can work better for you. The bottom line is this: 

  • the more you know about book marketing →  
  • the more creative you can get → 
  • the more effectively you can use the tools at your disposal →  
  • the more widely known your book will become → 
  • the more books you’ll sell.

You can start with the Storiad Learning Management System … and go from there:

The Storiad Learning Management System

  • Upfront time commitment: N/A
  • Ongoing time commitment: If you can devote time to read one article a day, you will begin accumulating a body of very practical knowledge very quickly. Plus it will help you be a more valuable member of your network.

And Finally

Every book has an audience. The trick, of course, is finding that audience and making them aware of your book. That is the what book marketing is all about. It takes time, patience, lots of creativity, and experimentation. Since you’ve already written your book and had it published, you’ll be a pro with all this book marketing stuff in no time.

Thank you for reading.

Good luck with your own book marketing.

Bye for now!

Ramzi & The Storiad Team

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