Mulling a marketing strategy

Mike Staton

These meandering thoughts by Mike Staton.

I’m not a graphic artist, but I’m not afraid to dabble in the skillset. In this case, I’m creating some graphics to market my Civil War novel, Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep.

So far I’ve created three pre-release illustrations for Facebook. I plan to do a few more. Once my publisher, Wings ePress, releases the novel on October 1, I’ll be doing a set of brand new illustrations that I’ll post on my author’s page. I’ll pay a little money and use Facebook’s Boost Post option to get more people to see at least one of the ads.

I don’t use Illustrator or similar fancy graphics software. Just Microsoft Word. It has some nice graphics features that I’ve been using for nearly twenty years. When I’m done with an illustration, I copy and paste it into Paint, which came free with my HP computer. Abracadabra… somewhat professionally looking artwork.

Pre-Release Idea 1

My first effort at an illustration for my Civil War novel.

Take a look at the three I’ve done so far and let me know what you think. I admit I like them, but I can handle criticism.

Portions of the novel take place in Southeastern North Carolina, specifically Duplin and New Hanover counties. The novel reconstructs the Duplin county seat of Kenansville, hometown of Bill Stamford, my main character. I’ve taken painstaking care to be historically accurate in my depiction of Kenansville. Late in the book, Bill takes the train to Wilmington for a recruiting trip, so I’ve tried to make my descriptions of the downtown and waterfront accurate as well. So where am I taking this? I plan to investigate placing small ads in the Duplin Times and the Wilmington Star-News. It all depends on how much it will cost me… I’m retired and not awash in cash.

Marketing Poster 2

Here’s my second one. It’s whimsical, with made-up quotes from imaginary newspapers.

I may also pay for a small ad in Civil War Times – if it’s not too costly. That has a national circulation, so it may turn out to be beyond my price horizon. We’ll see. Also, I just joined ten Civil War groups on Facebook. I’m going to be checking them out and seeing if I can post information about Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep.

It will be intriguing to see the sale numbers for the fourth quarter 2017. I have high hopes. The plot has elements that should be popular for readers of three genres – historical fiction, romance and fantasy. I tailored the story to get the widest possible readership. So far I’ve gotten some positive feedback on Facebook with friends saying they intend to buy the book.

Marketing Poster 3

And here’s my latest.

These next few months should be a fun ride. Yea for Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep.

# # #

I’m an author with three fantasy novels to my credit – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The books make up a trilogy titled Larenia’s Shadow. A fourth novel, this one a historical romance set during the Civil War, is scheduled for publication in October. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark And Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased via the website of my publisher, Wings ePress, as well as the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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16 Responses to Mulling a marketing strategy

  1. M. K. Waller says:

    You did all that with Microsoft Word? They’re beautiful. It sounds like you have your marketing strategy well in hand. Best of luck. I look forward to reading the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Staton says:

      Thanks, Kathy. I’ve been using Word for years, all the way back to 1989. First, for my defunct PR firm (also used Pagemaker back then), then as an employee for an instructional development company, also defunct. Word has all kinds of formatting options that most people don’t use.

      Like

  2. Barb says:

    I really like the pictures. I might have to try that sometime. Good luck with your endeavors. Barb

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Staton says:

      Thank you, Barb. Back when I worked for an instructional development company (1995 period), I used Word’s paint options to make primitive drawings. When writing my first novel, I did architectural floor plans for rooms in some of my scenes. Lol.

      Like

  3. Wranglers says:

    You go Guy. Love it. So excited for you. I’m doing the happy dance for you. Chee’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Doris says:

    I actually love the first and third options. They grabbed me and made me want to know more. (I read them as someone who hadn’t heard what the story was about.)

    You may also want to look at joining some of the ‘promotional’ romance facebook groups.

    All in all, I think you are on the right path and hopefully all your efforts will proved very successful. I personally love the idea of the story and am looking forward to Oct. 1 Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Neva Bodin says:

    Very clever. I will have to explore my microsoft word more. I bought a printmaster program recently to try things, and I have photoshop now but not very adept at using it. I like your ideas and the pictures. There are also the civil war re-enactment organizations and the Westerner’s Posse ones that may be a place to advertise your novel. You have a great idea there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If I were to to design my own book covers and other illustrations, they’d look like something the cat dragged in. Good luck with yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Staton says:

      That’s funny, Abbie. Years ago I let a graphic artist design a fancy resume for me. It had so many do-dads that the document became unwieldy and difficult to make revisions.

      Like

  7. S. J. Brown says:

    Nice work I like all 3 of them . I especially like that instead of a blank background you incorporated a civil war scene, that ads an extra touch.

    Like

  8. Gayle Irwin says:

    Great promotional pieces, Mike! I believe you will have great success with these, and your ideas of how and where to promote are excellent. I think Doris’ idea for romance FB groups are also good. How about Twitter? Using the right hashtags, you might have good success there as well. Wishing you all the best, and thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    Like

  9. Nancy Jardine says:

    Your posters are eye-catching, Mike. I sometimes use Word as well but more often I use an ancient version of a programme called Paint Shop Pro which I can handle for some not too fancy applications. Paying for promotions of my novels is a risky business and I’ve not yet managed to do one that’s had good results- but maybe it’s just that I haven’t found the right places yet. I do enjoy creating posters, though, for things like my Publisher’s flash sales times etc.

    Like

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