Here is a guest post from my colleague Dianne Harman, author of Blue Coyote Motel and Tea Party Teddy, as well as the forthcoming Coyote in Provence. Today, Dianne discusses something I care a lot about. Something we all struggle with on a daily basis. Yep, it’s that cruel mistress known as digital marketing.

These are interesting times for writers. Traditional publishing houses are shrinking, self-publishing is growing, and there are more books being published than ever before. The challenge becomes: how do we sell them?

When my debut novel was ready to be published, I met with a man who had written several novels. He told me the wave of the future was in digital marketing. He said I had to have a presence there and suggested that I get set up immediately on Facebook and Twitter. I’d actively avoided those things, thinking they were nothing more than time sucks.

About the same time I’d mentioned to a friend of ours who owned a high end hotel in Newport Beach, California, that my book was about to be published. He said he’d like to buy twenty-five for his hotel gift shop. My husband thought that would be a great venue for selling and suggested I call on all the hotels along the Southern California coast that had gift shops. The more I thought about it, the more resistant I became to the idea of spending my time hoping some hotel would buy a few books or take them on consignment. Instead, I decided it was time to get serious about the digital world of marketing.

I set up a Facebook account and then went on to Twitter. I remember looking at both of them wondering what was next. Who would possibly be interested in what I would have to say and what would I say? How would I go about getting friends and followers? Well, one thing led to another and it turned out be pretty easy.

Once I had some friends and followers, I was advised to look for groups to get involved with on Facebook, which I did. I joined several and once in a while would add something, hoping I was being relevant. Many groups later (I think I belong to 28 now) and many friends later, Facebook has been one of the best things I’ve done in marketing. I’ve learned, shared and gotten answers to so many questions. Now I have over 1,200 friends on my main page and an author page with over 600 followers. Does this mean I post to each group every day? Of course not. There are several groups that always seem to have relevant information and those I follow. The others I put on “no notification” so my email isn’t clogged and I check in with them from time to time.

Someone else told me that it was important to get a lot of followers on Twitter so I could let them know what was happening with my books and anything else I thought might be of interest to them. When I hit the 2,000 mark, I signed up for a monthly program which allowed me to go beyond the 10% new follower requests. I’m now close to 17,000 followers. Through one of the Facebook groups, I belong to a Triberr group which amplifies what I post on my blog to gargantuan numbers, far more than I could reach on my own. Yeah, I did have to set up a web page and I blog once or twice a week.

And not to be overlooked is Goodreads. I joined that, set up an author page, put my books on it and joined groups. I now have close to 5,000 friends on it and I do pretty much the same thing with it as I do with Facebook – monitor the groups where my sharing and theirs is relevant. Blue Coyote Motel was even a Goodreads Psychological Thriller Book of the Month. I doubt it would have happened if I hadn’t had a presence there. Plus, people in that group are constantly asking me when the sequel will be out. This morning, I posted the cover for the sequel,Coyote in Provence, and said it would be out within the month. Again, if I hadn’t been active in Goodreads, who would care about a sequel?

Now the big thing seems to be Google+. I’ve read a number of articles indicating that this social media will be even more important than Facebook. I’m doing the same thing on it as I did on the others, personal page, groups and relevant monitoring.

So once all these are set up, how do they help? Although I’ve read that a person needs to see the title of a book seven times before they buy it, I do try to keep the information about my books balanced with other things and something seems to be working. The two books of mine which have been published, Tea Party Teddyand Blue Coyote Motel, have both been Best Sellers on Amazon. Does it take time to monitor these social networks and build a presence? Of course. I easily spend two to four hours a day doing this. But for me it beats cold calling on hotels! Plus I’m motivated by one very relevant thing – no one is going to find my books under a rock. I honestly am not sure I would have sold more than a handful to friends and family if it had not been for these outlets.

Bottom line. Do I believe in digital marketing? Absolutely!


An Award Winning Best Seller, Blue Coyote Motel was chosen as a quarterfinalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest in the mystery/thriller category as well as a Goodreads Psychological Thriller Book of the Month. Blue Coyote Motel is a suspenseful love story which begins in the barrios of Southern California and spans the globe in such diverse locations as Provence, South America, and the Himalayas.

“In Native American folklore, Blue Coyote means ‘turning in the darkness,’ and that’s just what this comprehensive work will have you doing; tossing and turning as you wonder if the very air you’re breathing is just air, or something more sinister.”



About Steven Ramirez

Author and screenwriter, with one produced feature film. Find me at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Category(s): Digital MarketingGuest Post Tags: AuthorsBlue Coyote MotelCoyote in ProvenceDianne HarmanDigital Marketing,FacebookGoodreadsIndie PublishingSelf-PublishingTea Party TeddyTriberrTwitter,Writers

Where Ideas Come From

Children’s books – A Feast for the Eyes

I recently was at the Orange County, California airport, flying to Seattle to see my son and daughter-in-law. The Southwest Terminal there features changing art exhibits along one wall. I was early and had a little time. I decided to get a cup of coffee and happened to walk along the wall where there was an exhibit of children’s book covers. It was utterly charming and so enchanting I never made it to coffee.
The colors, the simplicity, the gaiety, all spoke to me. Just look at this one on the left by a friend of mine, PJ LaRue. You really want to know why the little girl is riding a fish.

When I returned I had occasion to look at some children’s books on the Goodreads site. Again I was struck by the vivid colors, the simplicity, and completely charmed. Since then I can’t help but compare adult book covers with them. There seems to be a vast difference between them. I’ve noticed that adult book covers tend to be more intricate. Often the cover depicts violence or hints at it. I’m not a Pollyana, but a lot of these lack charm! I understand the reasoning for them – to let the read know what the book is about and I understand that – but sometimes it can be a downer. For instance, I’m not particularly a fan of blood dripping from someone’s mouth depicting a vampire novel. It’s been done a lot!

Another thing I’ve noticed is the crayon colors of the covers. They’re bright and demand to be looked at. Adult covers are often dark, almost hard to see. One’s eyes are always drawn to lighter colors. I’m no expert on this, but I wonder if anyone has ever looked at sales figures of dark covers vs. light covers? It would be hard to determine the effectiveness of lighter colors because of so many other components, such as genre, author, etc., but it might make for an interesting study!

A friend of mine gave this site for children’s book covers. Take a look and see if you agree with me!