Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5 Crucial Steps to a Marketing Plan: Formulating Your Plan (Part 2)

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Step 1 in a Marketing Plan is to actually have a plan!

That may seem like stating the obvious, but let me explain what I mean:

The major way in which I started experimented with social networks over the past few months and teaching myself how to use them to market was by starting a fan account on those networks. Those who know anything about me know I'm a fanatical The Walking Dead fan. (You'll probably see more of it when the new season starts in two months. :D) Anyway, right now the show is playing a major hoax on it's fandom concerning a major character death and only a small percentage of the fans who even realize it. So, over the summer I started doing theories on Instagram. I pretty quickly also migrated to Tumblr. 

See, the thing about this is that TWD is, obviously, not my writing. It's a well-established TV show with a fan base 20 million strong. So the second you get online, it's ridiculously easy to find an audience for what you have to say about it. Much easier than for your own writing when you're still a rising author, right? But that's exactly why it's easy to learn social networking this way. Basically, I learned a lot about several different platforms, and now I'm applying them to my writing. 
A slide I posted on my TWD account yesterday.
(TWD/Princess Bride mashup). Source

So, back to the plan. 


I decided that if I was going to start a fan account, I wanted to have something to post every day. And that was pretty easy because 1) I had a lot to say.  A lot of theories I wanted to post. And 2) there are plenty of pictures, jokes, memes, etc. all over the place about every aspect of this TV show that I could use for filler. 

So, I spent about three weeks putting together as many posts as I could think of. I started the account the beginning of May and knew I needed enough material to take me through to the new season, which begins in October. So really, it was about six months worth. Now, I didn't come up with that much material in a few weeks, but I came up with enough for 2-3 months if I posted once per day. (Keep in mind that this is Instagram, so a single photo could be a post. I could easily pull them from Pinterest, where I already had a well-filled TWD board, and post with credit. This was much easier than writing six months' worth of blog posts.) 

Anyway, almost immediately I realized I wanted to post way more than once a day. I really wanted to post 3x a day. One theory, one sad/serious/tragic picture, and one funny meme. The only problem with that was that I would go through my material MUCH faster than I'd originally planned. 

But here's the thing. As with all things in life, when you start looking for answers, you generally find them. Even though I've been posting 3-4 times/day, I still haven't run out of material yet. (Yeah!)

And the results? 1000 real, organic followers in under 90 days, including quite a few really loyal ones who have told me they actually get on looking for my specific posts each day, a great deal of authority on my subject in this community on IG, Tumblr, and G+, new followers on other platforms, a new audience to speak and present to, and of course lots of new internet friends. 

But, that only happened because 1) I already had things to post and a lot of them. 2) I followed other, similar accounts, and often reposted (with credit, of course) what they posted that I liked, or just got really great ideas for more of my own posts from them, and 3) Dedicated a lot of time and thought to the account.

But really one thing flows into another here. If I hadn't started with a major, well-thought-out, detailed plan, none of the other stuff would have happened. If I'd just sat down at my computer each day and gone, 
"Hmm. What should I post..." *drums fingers on desk*... 
Do you think I'd have been nearly as successful with this account? No, of course not!

Steps for creating a marketing plan for your social networking accounts:


Ah brainstorming! (Source)
1. Brainstorm what you want to post. The best way to do this is by following and going through the feeds of similar accounts. I'm currently building up my author instagram account (rather than the TWD one) and I went through some author friends' accounts to see what they post on IG and get ideas. I now have a huge list of stuff I can create and post. (Yea!)

2. Create posts in advance. I would recommend creating enough for a month or two. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you can get that done before you get started, it helps you in several ways. A) It will get your creating juices flowing and get you in the mindset of what you want to create for your account. I promise once you get rolling the ideas will just come and come. You'll have way more stuff to post by the time (probably way before) you go through your original cache. B) It will allow you to relax during the first few months of your account because you already have plenty to post and won't be stressed about coming up with new things. This is key because stress = fear = the account becomes a chore and you don't want to maintain it. No stress = you can sit back, have fun, interact with and watch your audience grow. 

3. Post a lot if you possibly can. The more you post, the faster your audience will grow, because people want to see lots of posts by active posters. Of course you can just post once a day or a few times a week and that's totally fine. But if you possibly can post more, do!

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4. Write out a schedule. Figure out when you're going to post (weekly, daily, etc. and if daily, then when, how often, and what time). Also figure out what you're going to post when. Like i said, I posted three different things at different times of day. As an author, I can post lots of different things: pics of my book covers, quotes from my books or from reviews, pics of characters. my progress on particular projects, the list goes on. So you can post something different each day of the week, or different things at different times of the day, etc. However you want to run your account, works. Be creative!

Want examples? You can check out my 2 Instagram accounts here: 

IG: @twdmusicboxmystery -- obviously that's my TWD account
IG: @l.k.hillbooks -- my author account

*Notice how the TWD is pretty big with lots of posts, followers, etc. I've been at that one since May. My author one I've only been building up for about a week, and I already have 50+ followers, but still very few posts.*

Once you have your plan in place and have created a cache of posts, you're ready to implement it. That means posting, interacting and gaining followers. Come back tomorrow for some tips on those aspects of your campaign. This stuff really works! :D

Do YOU create posts in advance?

Monday, August 3, 2015

5 Crucial Steps to an Online Marketing Plan (Part 1)

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get my life together. I said almost a month ago that I'd be back to a regular blogging schedule, and then I pretty much...just...didn't. See, I've been an avid blogger for almost three years now, but I rarely have time to blog during the week. I generally do my posts in advance. Usually on the weekend. The problem is that for the past few months I've had to work weekends, so I just haven't had any time to get much blogging--or, unfortunately, much writing--done. But guess what! Last weekend was the last one I had to work. So that means...


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So, I'll be much more active now as we head into the tail end of summer. Good to be back. :D

Okay, onto today's topic. I've been experimenting with social networks (as I mentioned a month ago) and putting together marketing plans for my books. I've actually learned a lot and I'm gonna start applying them. In the meantime, I'll probably be posting about what I've learned a lot.

This week, I'm talking about formulating a marketing plan and putting it into practice. I'll be focusing on the online stuff: social networks, online interaction, etc. Today will be a short overview and then I'll go into each step in more detail for the rest of the week. 

So, 5 Crucial Steps for an Online Marketing Plan:


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1. Have a plan -- They may sound like a repeat of the title, but I promise it's not. I'll go into a lot more detail on this tomorrow, but suffice it to say, having a detailed plan is a nearly foolproof way to avoid not having anything to post. If you sit down at your computer every day and go, "uhhh, what should I post? Ummmmm...hmmmm." Yeah, nine days out of ten you're not going to come up with anything. Plan in advance so you already have stuff to post and just have to actually upload it.

2. Spend the time -- It doesn't have to be much. Consistency and playing the numbers is the best way to gain a following. Take a few minutes in a consistent manner and soon enough you'll be amazed at the reaction you get. I'll have a step by step on this on Wednesday.

3. Be flexible. While you should always have a detailed plan and stick to it as closely as possible, sometimes things come up and will interrupt your plan. And that's okay. Know what to look for that you WANT to interrupt your plan for, and what can go by the wayside. More on how to define these things on Thursday.


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4. Use different social networks. Most new authors start on one or two networks--say Facebook and Twitter--and then branch out. I was no different. I'm on quite a few of them now and I've learned a lot about how to reach different audiences and how to maximize my reach on different platforms. I'll put up a detailed post on how to use different platforms to your advantage and how they differ in audience on Thursday.

5. Set goals and adjust accordingly. The truth is, you're never going to know just how realistic your goals are until you get started. Set goals, and then keep on eye on things. You may not hit your first goals, and that's okay. It'll still give you a jumping off point and teach you a whole lot about the social network, what you can accomplish, and where to go next. I'll talk about goals and give you some examples on Friday.

So those are the major steps. Stay tuned the rest of the week for more detail. And have a wonderful, productive Monday! :D

How detailed is your latest marketing plan?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Lessons from the Fandom: 4 Reasons Every Writer Should Be on Tumblr + Step by Step Instructions

I'm really not much of a fangirl,
but thought this was cute. :D (Source)
Not long ago--the beginning of May, actually--I started a fan account for a TV show I love. (Bet some of you can guess which one. :D) I did it for a couple of reasons. 1) Because I like the show and thought it would be fun 2) I wanted to experiment with some marketing techniques and learn some social networks I wasn't already on, and I thought this would be a good way to do so without making too many mistakes concerning my own writing.

So, now I'll be don't a series called Lessons from the Fandom. Just little tips and tricks I've learned from this experience.

Today I'm going to talk about Tumblr. I've never been on Tumblr before, at least not to post my own stuff. I've searched it before for gifs and things, but even that's been fairly limited. It's just not my social media network of choice. 

Well, that's changing now. For the last couple of months, I've gotten to know Tumblr, and it's one of my new favorite platforms. I've come to conclusion that every writer should be on Tumblr!!!

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Why?

1) It can greatly increase your audience. - It's yet another social network to connect with people on and the audience is very active. It's easy to spread your influence there and network with others.

2) It doesn't take ANY extra work on your part. - I've literally just copied and pasted. If you're already creating blogposts, pictures (i.e. facebook or pinterest) or just about any other kind of post, you can simply upload it to Tumblr in exactly the same format. (Of course you can change it if you want.) But you don't have to necessarily do yet another post to be on Tumblr. Just use the work you've already done anyway. 

3) Hashtags translate to a VERY targeted audience. - Tumblr probably makes the best use of hashtags of any social network I've been on. I know this because when I started out with my fan account, I had like 5 followers, but dozens of people were finding and either liking or reblogging my stuff every single day. That's because people on Tumblr are awesome at searching with hashtags. And that means the people who find your stuff will be exactly the audience you're looking for. It's awesome! Plus that naturally grows your following because people who regularly find your stuff through searches inevitably end up following you. 

4) It's fun! Yet another network to have fun on. It's so great to see people like, comment, and reblog your stuff. I know it makes me unreasonably happy. :D

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So, what's next?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kindle Fire HD Giveaway!!!

So today I'm beginning my epic giveaway for The Botanist. But this won't be like most giveaways. You can only qualify for seven entries total. And to get them, there are only two things you can do. You won't be commenting or following me on any of my social networking platforms (unless you want to of course, but it won't affect your entries).

So here's how it works. I'm giving away a Kindle Fire HD. The lucky winner should receive it just in time for Christmas. (Yea!) This giveaway is going to go all the way until November, which is a long time for a giveaway, but it's got to be that way to give people time. Here's why: The only way to gain entries to this giveaway is by reviewing The Botanist. So of course, I need to give people time to read the book and write the review.

Most people who enter bookish giveaways are avid readers to begin with. If you're reading anyway, you might as well give yourself the chance to win a Kindle Fire while you do it, right?

But that may not even be all of it! I MAY be giving away more prizes, just depending on the number of reviews I get. 


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  • I'd love to get a thousand reviews. For a thousand or less, I'll just be giving away the Kindle Fire HD. 
  • For every 100 reviews over 1000 that I get, I'll also give away a $25 Amazon gift card. So, if I get 1100 reviews, I'll give away the Kindle Fire + one gift card. If I get 1200 reviews, I'll give away the Kindle Fire + two gift cards, etc. 
  • And IF--one can only hope--I get 2000 reviews, I'll give away a second Kindle Fire. So spreading the word for more entries will bring more prizes and more chances to win! Just sayin'. :D


So, hop on over to Amazon, or your favorite book retailer, grab a copy of The Botanist, and then enter for your chance to win!

I'd also love help spreading the word. To that end, I've embedded some tweets below. (Sharing is caring! :D) 

So, enter below, have fun, and happy reading!






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Early reviews for The Botanist:

"I had no clue who the killer was and loved how the book ended. It was so easy to get sucked in...I had to forcibly put it down or I was going to read through the night...my first book by LK Hill but it won’t be my last." --Amazon Customer 
"The serial killer is incredibly creepy and the buildup to the final climax of the story keeps you on the edge of your seat."--Scott (Amazon Customer) 
 "I do not recommend reading this after dark. It is very creepy, and terrifying...There’s a touch of romance here, a bright spot amid a cave of horrors."--Ramblings on Readings 
"I don't usually enjoy creepy books, but got drawn into this one quickly and literally stayed up all night to see how it ended!"--Annette Stacy (Amazon Customer)
Retweet below if you feel so inclined! :D 




Monday, June 29, 2015

Going Forward, Creative Blogging, Nominations

Hello all! Happy Monday morning!

It's been weeks since I posted regularly on my blog, which is all kinds of weird for me. I love blogging and have been religious about it for years. But life has gotten in the way a lot lately. I'm hoping now to return to a more regular schedule. So, a couple of things.

1) I've been nominated as a creative blogger (see below).

2) What I post on this blog may change a bit. In the past I've done a lot of weekday memes and blog hops and things. I won't be forsaking those all together, but I'll be doing fewer of them. The reason being is that I want to focus more on my own writing, rather than reading and blog hopping. 

3) For that same reason, I'll probably post less than I used to: only 2-3 times/week, rather than 5+. 

4) Other than that, I'll still be around a lot. Not going anywhere anytime soon. :D

5) I'm also still working on a whole new marketing plan for my books, and I'll share it and it's results as I go along, so I'm super excited to see how it works.

Creative Blogger:


I was nominated by Jeffrey Scott over at J.A. Scott (thanks Jeff! *waves*). If I am to accept the award, I need to follow a few rules. That's where this blog post comes in.

The rules:
1. Thank and post the link of the person who nominated you.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
3. Nominate 10-20 blogs and notify them.
4. Pass on the rules.


Facts about me:
1. I am a hybrid author (both traditional and indie) who writes across many genres, including scifi/fantasy, historical fiction, dystopian, and crime fiction.
2. I am unmarried, but live with my sister and four-year-old niece in Northern Utah. 
3. I come from a huge, tight-knit family. There are twelve of us kids, all from the same two parents. (Everyone take a deep breath! No passing out while reading my blog!)
4. I run a daycare during the week to pay the bills. I find that I have a LOT less motivation to write when I have to work a 9-5 job. Staying at home with a bunch of rugrats gives me (some) time to write during the day, but more importantly it doesn't kill my motivation to write during my spare time.
5. I am a The Walking Dead fanatic. Anyone who follows my blog for long already knows this. When the show is on (Oct-Nov, Feb-Mar) I do very in-depth analyses of each episode on my blog. I even have a fan account on Instagram and Tumblr. I've actually learned some marketing lessons from these accounts, which I'll be turning into blog posts soon. Stay tuned! :D

I nominate:
1. Alex J. Cavanaugh - If you want to know how to run a successful blog, go follow him!
2. The Geek Twins - Maurice and Nigel, always bringing fascinating scifi, pop culture tidbits I don't hear anywhere else. 
3. C.D. Gallant-King - An amazing author who shares great characters and excerpts on his blog!
4. Johnny Worthin - Another fantastic author with a sense of humor that just won't quit. Once you know Johnny, you won't forget him.
5. Lehua Parker - YA Author with a delightful series about a boy who might just be a shark, set in Hawaii.
6. Ann Marie Meyers - Delightful ME/YA author. Check out her book, Up in the Air.
7. The Brothers Washburn - I love their YA horror. It's just a truckload of fun to read!
8. Jo Ann Schneider - Another fabulous JFP author! Check out her latest book.

I'm supposed to do at least 10, but I'm gonna stop there. 

What blogger would YOU want to know more about?



Monday, June 22, 2015

Sorry for the Absence!

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Happy Monday, Everyone!

Sorry I was gone all last week with no explanation. I had a super-busy weekend, and figured I'd just have to do posts each day, rather than in advance, and then my internet went out. It was a hardware problem, but it really took most of the week to get it fixed. :/

And yes, I could have connected with my phone--I did a couple of times just to troll my networks, answer comments, etc.--but trying to actually create a post from my phone is a major pain in the neck--not worth the effort--so I decided to wait until my internet decided to stop being a bully.

Anyway, I'm back this week. Thing is, I've been doing a lot of thinking about where I want this blog to go. I'm putting together a new marketing strategy for my books, which I probably won't implement until next month, but it will change the way and frequency in which I post.

I'll probably do fewer memes and try to focus my blog more on writing and, what it's named for: Musings on Fantasia. So that means I'll still be doing book, film and TV reviews, focusing on interpreting stories and such. And I'm sure I'll do other things as well that strike my fancy. But without the extra memes to fill in gaps, the frequency with with I post will probably go down to 1-3 times/week.

Anyway, this week may still be a bit touch and go, but after that I'll get back into a routine. Hope everyone has a wonderful week! :D

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Follow Friday: A Character's Shoes + Funny Friday

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!



If you can step into one characters shoes (in a book) and be them for a day who would it be and why? Also if you want to be creative, what scene? - Suggested by Seeing Night Book Reviews


This question actually goes great with character week! 

Hmm. This is a really un-creative answer for me, but I think I'd have to go with Nynaeve al'Meara from The Wheel of Time. Favorite series. Favorite character. And I think I'd like to experience the most powerful female Channeler int he world. Just for one day, you know? 

If I had to pick a scene, there are plenty of battle scenes that are pretty dang cool, including when she catches Moghedien. But I always really liked the scene where she rides from one end of the continent to the other, gathering Lan's army for him. One of my favorite scenes, so I think I might want to step into that one. :D

What character/scene would YOU step into?



Welcome to Friday Funnies! Because everyone needs a good laugh on Friday.

(All pictures courtesy of my LOL Pinterest Board or my Geektastic Board.)


Supernatural/Tangled Mashup. Love it!

LOL.

The sad thing is that I had to watch this for like 30 seconds
before I noticed Vader. :D

Yeah pretty much!


Hope one of those gave you a laugh! Happy Friday, Everyone!