Marketing Q&A with Robyn M. Ryan

Looking to improve your marketing and publicity efforts? Check out our Book Publicity Tips series where we ask real authors to share their experiences, thoughts, and advice to assist both new and established authors. 

Why is it beneficial to have a professionally designed book cover and/or author logo?

As independent publishers, it’s extremely important that anything we use to promote our work—from our website to book covers to promotional items—represents the highest professional standards. This is one area where it’s essential to invest in a professional to design and coordinate all marketing materials. Even if you are a whiz at Photoshop and have graphic design skills, hiring a third-party gives you a fresh perspective and ideas you may never have considered. You’ll receive a book cover that can compete with the “big guys”—and most importantly, pop on the book shelf whether it be a print version or e-book on the shelves at Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads, and other websites.

Do you recommend using friends and family when marketing your books?

I hesitated to approach friends and family members to market my book, This Piece of My Heart, for the simple reason that it’s very hard to refuse the request. They may or may not follow through, and you have no way to gauge the effectiveness. Friends and family can certainly help your marketing efforts through “word of mouth,” but as authors, we need to directly reach out to our readers. My genre is New Adult/Sports Romance. There are Facebook and Goodreads groups for this genre, which can greatly expand the book’s reach. If you aren’t involved with an author’s group, consider actively seeking to form or join one. By supporting, critiquing, beta reading, and cross-promoting each other’s books, your group will expand your knowledge and your reach.

Which social media tools do you use on a regular basis? How have they improved your marketing efforts? 

Hootsuite is my go-to site to coordinate personal and professional social media marketing. Besides enabling you to schedule publicity in advance, you can use the built-in app to discover targeted content. This enables me to vary my posts, so that for every book promo, I post about ten content-related posts. The metrics provided each week give direct feedback on your reach.

Triberr.com is a great free site to network and cross-post blogs among members of whichever tribes you join. You help by posting their blog links and content to FB, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Google+, and LinkedIn. Your fellow “tribe members” also reciprocate. You can expand your reach to well over 100,000 by using the collective resources of the tribes.

How often should an author post to Twitter? Which strategies do you find to increase engagement?

My own rule is to post ten or more content-related tweets to every promotional tweet. Always thank those who retweet a promotional post. Start conversations with followers. Engage your followers at every opportunity. Twitter has expanded exponentially since its early days when you could easily keep up with your stream. But, as you build your network, this gets more and more cumbersome. With accounts that have over 8,000 followers, I’ve found that I can engage regularly only with those who include my account in a tweet. This narrowly limits engagement. Ideally, you’d have Twitter open on your desktop and monitor your stream occasionally, engaging when you can.

What is the #1 tip you could give to a writer looking to go the self-publishing route?

Do not try to publish on your own. Even if funds are limited, hire a professional editor—you’ll receive valuable insight, and after a couple of editing sessions, you’ll have a manuscript that is 99.9% grammatical-error and typo-free. My editor gave direction, pointed out changes in Point of View, offered various ways to correct this, and suggested plot areas needing improvement. Hire a graphic designer to present a professional image. Join a writer’s group. Honest feedback is critical to publishing the best book you can. Most importantly, be proud of your work and what you have accomplished!

Author Bio

From early childhood, Robyn M. Ryan knew she wanted to write. This goal grew throughout elementary and high school, first composing novels featuring favourite TV and music personalities, then venturing into sports writing. Attending UGA’s journalism school launched her career in public relations, which included an internship with the Atlanta Flames NHL hockey team. As few romance novels featured pro athletes, Robyn wrote the books she wanted to read. Many years later, one manuscript received a serious critique and edit, and will be released spring 2016—This Piece of My Heart (Clearing the Ice Hockey series).

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