How Building Relationships Is The Ultimate Sales Strategy

You've released a few books, or perhaps you’re a mid-list writer who’s wondering if there’s more to this writing gig than applying for BookBubs. You haven’t seen the increase or sales you’ve been used to and are re-considering your decision to give this “writing thing” a go. Or maybe you’re seeing moderate progress, but you need to find the one thing that will propel you to the next level of success.

This week, I've been on rant, after rant, after rant. And yes, I'm in a serious menopausal well of emotion, and as a close friend has just told me, it's like a dark raincloud is doing my evil bidding every time I open my mouth this week. But, I'm here to tell you, there is a way to win on ANY platform, but you have to take a leap of faith: You simply CANNOT post time, after time, after time a picture of your hero and heroine, a cover, a teaser with a buy link and expect it to work. Especially if you’re going WIDE!

Nope, not gonna happen! All this is doing is teaching your followers to skip over your content because it’s predictable and spammy. And even more detrimentally, you’re telling the algorithms to suppress your content because you either always post something with links leading readers away from the platform, or what you’re posting isn’t interesting to your followers. Neither of these situations are good and can lead to authors blaming the platform instead of their content.

Want to know what romance authors who are winning the long game are spending their marketing time doing? It’s not Facebook ads, it’s not blogger tours, promo spots, newsletter swaps, or deciding to go exclusively to KU. Granted, they are doing some of those things (look forward to a future blog on all of the things inside this list I think are a waste of time and money), but they’ve done one thing before they’ve done anything else.

The one thing they’ve done differently is know their readers inside and out.

They've taken the time to become of one mind with their readers and it shows on their social media. These authors are BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS and they are cultivating a community of evangelists for their work. And these relationships are built on the one thing all great relationships are built on: trust.

Those authors you admire? Their readers will snap up any chance they get to order their books and tell their friends about them. Why? Because they've intentionally gone transparent in their marketing efforts.

This means they are showing up on their platform of choice as themselves. This can be as much or as little as they decide, but they are showing up, in some way, shape or form, every. single. day.

Take Jill Shalvis, for example. She consistently shows on social media that she is a wife, mom of three girls (whose names she doesn't share), who owns a lab or two, and lives in the mountains. And she occasionally lets you know she's got books coming out.

Lauren Layne intersperses pictures of herself and gorgeous Instagram-worthy layouts with incredible copy, while offering us an inside view of her personal life via her stories. Lauren occasionally shows us what she’s working on, all the while we fall in love viewing her travels and daily life.

Finally, Alessandre Torres fills socials of "days in the life" pictures. Her FB pages are riddled with marketing strategies and writing do’s and don’t’s learned from her personal experience. She intentionally shares her life with her readers, and sometimes shows us the books she’s selling.

What I want you to notice is that these writers rarely post teasers. They don’t consistently post “buy this book” posts, share multiple links to try to entice their readers to purchase, or do the dreaded newsletter swap. They never let their reader land on their page and read something that isn't consistent with their brand or try to push their book on their reader. They make sales based on relationships, and they know that relationships are all about trust.

So, tell me, are you ready to be brave? Are you ready to lose the posts asking readers to click a link to download or head to your website? The next time you post on your socials, no matter what channel it is, ask yourself if you're ready for your huge transformation. Ask yourself what you want to happen after a reader checks out that post? Resist the urge to post a teaser or a link to buy, and post something that gets your fans fired up, engaged, and interested in who you are. Post a series of behind-the-scenes pictures or videos or a picture of yourself in your natural habitat… the writer at wild. Be brave. You’ll be surprised at the results.

Need a support group to get through the anxiety? You know you can always find it inside the Romance Writer's Marketing Academy Facebook Group. We’re a group of dedicated romance writers ready to grow with you as you create a high converting marketing strategy!


Holly, The Socialvert

The One Thing You Need To Do On Social To Grow Your Reader Base

Okay, so, you’re a writer.

You’re a master at weaving stories. You understand that making people care about the lives of heroes and heroines is key to selling your readers on a plot, and if it’s in a series, purchasing the remainder of the series after they finish the first book. So, then, tell me: Why are you resistant to tell our own story?


It is the singular action we need to take to win the game that is social media. Now, you’re probably thinking, “More writing? Please, God, no.” Nope, not more writing. It’s simply telling your story in short form, via either copy (written words), imagery or video. 

Still panicking? Relax, we are actually storytelling all day long! It’s just that most of us aren’t broadcasting it to the world via social media. But think about it: Those favourite authors, bloggers, and celebrities that you love to follow on social, watch their Instagram stories, and read their posts? There is no difference between you: they are just excellent at story-telling to make their daily life interesting.

Don’t believe me? Think back to your favourite brands and people to follow and examine why you’re following them and what you love to get out of it. For me, it’s always fascinating to see what they’re doing, buying, and working on. They don’t forget that even the simplest of stories have a beginning, middle and end. So, my biggest tip:

Make sure all of your Instagram stories, Facebook Lives, and blog posts contain all 3 of these parts.

To give you an example, let’s try an exercise with an Instagram story on doing the laundry. I’m going to show you step-by-step how to make an immensely mundane task interesting to watch.

Slide #1: Set the scene.

“Hey guys, it’s laundry day. I avoid laundry like it’s laced with cyanide and will kill me upon contact, but it’s become a problem. Do you feel me?”

I’ve engaged my audience with something relatable, even encouraging them to respond by asking them if they’ve ever had similar feelings.

Slide #2: Relate to them.

*I’ve reversed the camera to show my laundry pile that rivals the nearest high rise.*

“I can’t ignore this growing pile any longer. I should be writing, but instead, I’m tackling this pile, queuing up Riverdale on Netflix and avoiding all adult responsibilities for at least three hours until it’s gone!”

Now I’ve shown a massive laundry pile that most of us have encountered at some point in time. I mentioned I should be writing and used a common activity, binging on Netflix. I now have the opportunity to tag Netflix and hashtag Riverdale to stretch my reach, which gives the algorithm lots of good intel on who I am and who they should suggest my channel to.

Slide #3: Conclude.

To close, I did a few slides on loading the laundry with either picture, video, or a boomerang. Finally, the story concludes with front facing picture of me watching Netflix, drinking my favourite beverage, with my legs on top of the freshly folded laundry pile.

So what?

I’ve just told a short story containing a beginning, middle, and end, which accomplishes the ultimate in sales and marketing: Know, Like & Trust. People buy from people they know, like & trust and by opening up your life and following this formula on Instagram Story, Facebook live, a series of Tweets, or a blog post, you accomplish these faster than most other retailers are able to.

Hopefully you’re seeing that even in the most mundane tasks, these are the stories that connect us to our audience. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to craft a story on your favourite social platform and swallow your fear that no one cares. Because, let me remind you, your readers are choosing to read you out of thousands of options. They care! And if you want to tie them to you, you need to make them care about your story.

Want to join us inside our FREE Facebook Group for romance writers? We’re breaking down all the juicy goodness that is digital marketing for romance writers inside The Romance Writer’s Marketing Academy. Apply to become a member today for live coaching, tutorials and accountability challenges!

The Entire Romance Writer's Marketing Academy Course Is On Sale!

Looking to build your brand with social media and digital marketing strategies that actually sell books? We’ve got a course that can walk you through the “how to’s” AND gives you guided group coaching inside our private, exclusive Facebook Group. We teach you how to use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Email Marketing, along with an incredible suite of bonus add-ons and new starting November 15th, TEMPLATED SOCIAL MEDIA SCRIPTS…whaaat! We’re celebrating storytelling this month with $75 off your enrolment inside the Romance Writers Marketing Academy Paid Course until November 15th.

How Romance Writers Can Leverage Instagram's New Algorithm!

How Romance Writers Can Leverage Instagram's New Algorithm!

Finally! The Instagram algorithm has evolved people! And it's a beautiful blend of what you want to see and what you might want to see. Facebook could take a lesson from their prettier, kinder, gentler sister.

Why Instagram Stories Is A Writer's Game Changer Strategy

Why Instagram Stories Is A Writer's Game Changer Strategy

Oh yeah, I just said that. One look at the title of this blog and you're either going to:

a) click away or,

b) read on.

There are no other options. Do not keep this window open and never come back to it until your computer needs to do a restart, then you are forced to give up on this juicy piece of intel! Save yourself some heartache, just keep reading. It's a quickie, just like we like 'em in Romancelandia.

I'm writing this as I'm supposed to be sitting here writing my third draft of a book I've had "in progress" for almost a year. Sad but true, and now, I'm procrastinating for the last time. I just recorded a series fo 15 second clips for my Instagram Stories and I thought I'd share my reasoning, then get back to writing.

Emails That Sell Romance Novels & Create Stark Raving Loyal Readers - Part 3 of 3

Emails That Sell Romance Novels & Create Stark Raving Loyal Readers - Part 3 of 3

Welcome to the final instalment of my three part blog series where we've been breaking down all things email marketing for romance writers. If you haven't caught parts one and two, you can find them here...and here. Today, we're talking about subject lines and content that converts. So, let's get right to it!

Subject Lines & Content Creation

When it comes to subject lines, really, truly, all you need to NOT do is to put something in there that is so generic that your reader scrolls on by. No more, May's news, Your VIP news, Holly's News, no more. Not gonna happen. We're writers people! We can do so much better! Stop reading right now and swing on over to your inbox and I want you to look for two things.

Emails That Sell Romance Novels & Create Stark Raving Loyal Readers - Part Two of Three

Emails That Sell Romance Novels & Create Stark Raving Loyal Readers - Part Two of Three

Okay, so when we last met, we ran over the four reasons I think email marketing should be your first priority when planning out your marketing strategy. If you haven't read part one, click the button to be magically transported there and join us when you're done!

Emails That Sell Romance Novels & Create Stark Raving Loyal Readers - Part 1 of 3

Emails That Sell Romance Novels & Create Stark Raving Loyal Readers - Part 1 of 3

Stop right there. I know you’re rolling your eyes. Email marketing is dead, you’re thinking. No one reads emails anymore, right? Wrong. So, very wrong. Hang out with me for a few minutes and I’m hoping to convince you that email marketing is ALLLLLL the things!

How To Use Hashtags For Instagram in 2018

Hashtags. Gotta love 'em, but more often than not, we wind up hating them. Or at least, wondering where to put them in, which ones to use, are they hurting the post or pushing it? I'm running down the essentials on how to use hashtags to grow your following on Instagram. But I'll give you one pro tip before I get into that. Don't use them on your Facebook posts. Facebook actually doesn't love the hashtag.

Okay, so now that we've cleared that are my top three hashtag pointers!


1) Your hashtags need to be relevant now more than ever. Users of Instagram can now FOLLOW a hashtag. So, you can appear in an aggregated search if you're using a hashtag relevant to your market. For example. I follow the hashtag #Contemporaryromance and #romancenovel, so that two things will happen. One, I see what the Instagram algorithm thinks I'd like to see from others who use these hashtags. Two, I will potentially be seen in new reader's news feed who the algorithm thinks would like my stuff based on my hashtag use. It's so freaking cool! Check out the steps to checking out who you follow below:

First, click the "following" number. Here, it's right where the arrow is pointing.

Then, tap on the Hashtags word, seen here, circled below.



Instagram will also give you some other options to follow. Word of warning. Don't follow too many, that's considered spammy, and the opposite will happen. You'll be ranked lower. And once a user has followed a hashtag, they have the option to "Don't Show for This Hashtag", which marks specific content uninteresting to the user, effectively curating the content for you.


2) Switch up your hashtags in every post to avoid being classified as spam. It used to be that you could just copy and paste your hashtags, in the same order, into every post. However, that's now being classified in the algorithm as spam. I suggest keeping a few different options and rotating them through. There are some third party Instagram offerings, like Later, who will save your hashtags for you and you can choose to drag and drop which set you want in each post. Or like me, I just have a few different versions of 15 hashtags that I now rotate through. I pull them from my notes section in my phone and place them into the comments section of each post. Here is one of my sets.


3) Hashtag best practices. Avoid gimmicky hashtags and hashtags that have been used to death, but instead, choose hashtags that describe your brand, your business industry and your market. Community hashtags are also highly effective. They are a great way to improve searchability, gain new followers and grow your tribe.

Those are just three of my favourite new ways to use hashtags in my Instagram strategy. I've got a whole module on this fun and up and coming platform inside my course, The Romance Writers Marketing Academy. Doors are open now, but close April 9th! Learn how to:

  • grow your Instagram following
  • use Instagram stories to engage and build relationships that last
  • advertise on Instagram
  • use third party apps to create interesting Instagram posts and stories
  • hashtag strategies
  • what's new with Instagram in 2018
  • how to create a bio and profile that converts
  • keys to selling books on Instagram

Want to learn more or to sign up now and save $50 off your enrolment in our early-bird launch pricing?

Click here!

Only 4 days left to get this pricing and to get ready to release your books and grow your reader base like a marketing pro!

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