Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Mashup Marketing, Amazon, and a Muse–Guest Post by Staci Troilo #amreading #amwriting

43 Comments

Please welcome my guest today, Staci Troilo. Staci has just released the last book of her Medici Protectorate series (and I am so bummed, but there is the Nightforce Security guys, which is a spinoff written by Staci’s alter ego (well, one of them 😀 ) Kiera Beck). If you haven’t checked out the Medici series, you’re missing out.

And now, heeeere’s Staci!

Hi, Julie. Thanks for inviting me here today. I’ve been crazy busy writing guest posts for my latest release, Tortured Soul, the fourth and final installment of the Medici Protectorate series. As I was about to compose my piece for you, my muse interrupted me. I’m sure my original idea for a post would have been a good one, but I think you’ll like our conversation better. At the very least, you’ll get a kick out of this, since I have you to thank for introducing us.

muse

I’ve transcribed our chat for you:

“Ahem.”

I’d watched him come in the door. He’d risen at dawn and had been doing some form of martial arts in the yard for over an hour. Now he stood in the doorway, his broad, bare chest glistening with sweat. Dark hair, damp on the ends, curled at the nape of his neck. He sipped from my “This Might Be Wine” bottle, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he guzzled the water.

Had to be water. No one built like that drank wine after a workout. Certainly not Mr. Perfect. I had to admit, I might. Okay, I confess—my morning drinks of choice are coffee, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, in that order. Which isn’t really a problem, since I seldom workout in the morning. Nor am I built like a Roman deity. (I’m starting to see some uncomfortable correlations.)

Cara, you’re staring. Again.”

“Sorry.” My cheeks heated as I dragged my gaze up to his and forced myself to blink. And swallow. “Did you want something?”

“You’re supposed to be working.”

“A ha!” Is it bad that I feel perverse glee when he’s wrong about something? “I can’t write right now. I’m working on marketing materials and guest posts.”

“I didn’t say you’re supposed to be writing. I said you’re supposed to be working.”

And just like that, my glee evaporated. “I was. Until you interrupted.”

“If you were working, why were you staring out the window?”

Because my eyes were tired, my brain was mush, and I’d been admiring the view. At least until he came inside. “I was just thinking.”

“You’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.”

“You’ve been doing a lot of exercising lately.”

His lips quirked.

My face flamed hotter, and I looked away—back to my blank computer screen.

He pulled on a t-shirt then dropped onto the sofa beside me. Close. Really close.

I inhaled deeply. To my surprise, he smelled good. Like pine and sandalwood and something sultry and exotic I couldn’t name. Seriously? After an hour flailing about in the summer heat? I vented the breath with an audible sigh.

He touched my arm. “You always sound so tortured, cara.”

Wonder why. Shifting in my seat, I knocked his hand away. My skin tingled where it had been.

“So, tell me. When you’re not fantasizing—”

“I don’t fantasize. I ponder. Plan. Prepare.”

“And now you protest too much.”

Hamlet? Queen Gertrude? What, were you Shakespeare’s muse, too?”

His jaw ticked and his gaze heated, but he didn’t speak. Still, I thought I heard an answer in his silence.

Given the circumstances—given his qualifications—I should probably give the guy a little more respect than I had been.

“Anyway.” I cleared my throat. “Julie has talked to me about marketing and publishing. In some ways, it’s tough for writers who write mashups or multiple genres.”

“How so?”

He wasn’t challenging me. Rather, he seemed genuinely interested. Apparently the business side of writing was outside his area of expertise. Never would have guessed there was something he wasn’t good at.

I reached for my mimo—er, my coffee—and nestled into the corner of the couch. “Well, if you’re going to be a multi-genre author, you’ve got some decisions to make. Are you going to try to maintain only one identity and segment your mailing list? Or are you going to write under multiple pen names, having one identity per genre? There are pros and cons to each.”

“And you chose to use multiple pen names?”

“Only recently. But that’s because of a policy at work.” He knows all about my job at a publishing company and the requirements that came along with it. He doesn’t know what the company is doing for me, though. “The marketing director there is helping me manage these different personas, and we’ve developed names and identities for each imprint that works for the genres I write in. Before that, I wrote only as ‘me’ and tried to target different segments of readers when I released different types of novels. And I was mostly on my own with marketing.”

“Either way sounds exhausting.”

“You have no idea.”

He took another drink. “Is there a way to make things easier?”

“Marketing takes time no matter what kind of author you are. Single- or multi-genre. One identity or many. Unless you have someone doing it for you, it’s not easy. But one of the easiest ways to target the right readers is to categorize your book correctly.”

Cara, correct me if I’m wrong, but you aren’t self-published. You don’t have control over your books’ categories.”

“That’s true of most of my books. But not all. I have a few self-published titles. I learned through trial and error on those. Lately, I’ve been asking questions and watching what my publishers chose for me. Watching what the top authors in my genres are doing.”

He leaned back against the cushions, and I got another whiff of him. It was more than a little distracting, so I sat up straight then bent over my laptop.

“What are you doing?”

“Pulling up Amazon’s site. I wanted to show you a few things. For starters, look at this. All these authors have multiple categories listed.”

“That makes sense.”

“Yeah, but you’re only able to add two categories and seven keywords when you upload on KDP.”

“So how did they get other categories?”

three categories

“You have to request it. Email the helpdesk in KDP with the exact path you want, and they’ll adjust it for you. You have to have the exact words, though. And don’t just rely on their options. If you look at your competitors, you can see paths you want that Amazon doesn’t offer. Copy them and ask KDP for them. That’s how you get the categories Amazon doesn’t organically offer. You have to be exact and specific.”

“But how do you know which categories to select?”

“Look at this.” I pulled up the categories for Hideaway by Keira Beck—one of my pen names. “See how ‘New Adult’ is one of them?”

Hideaway Amazon Ranking

“I’m not blind, cara.”

Yeah, neither was I. That was part of the problem. I turned back to the screen. “That’s definitely not a book about college-aged people, which is what NA was originally defined as. So I asked my publisher about it. They said the category has morphed to mean ‘includes unmarried sexual partners’ and has nothing to do with an age group. Other than the characters aren’t teenagers. If you want to place your book in the proper categories, you need to ask questions of people who might know more than you.”

“I see.”

“Another thing is to make sure you go as deep down into the categories as possible. The more specialized and specific you can get, the better chance you have at finding your targeted readers.”

“Makes sense.”

“And of course, you need to look at what comparable authors are listing their works as. Keeping an eye on them and what they’re doing helps you stay on top of your game.”

“You sure do a lot of looking at other things.” He tipped the bottle up and drained it dry. Never took his gaze off me, though.

I drained my own drink then scampered into the kitchen for a refill. It was really warm in the house.

“I think I’m going to shower then head to One Ugly Mug to watch the game.”

My mind kind of blanked at shower.

As he walked past me, he leaned down and whispered in my ear. “Don’t dawdle, cara. You’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Truer words never spoken.

So, as you can see, my newly-acquired muse has made himself at home. And we’re learning from each other—learning some really interesting things.

It’s hard to pick categories for books. I noticed my publisher chose different categories for my eBook than for my paperback and hardcover. Probably trying to maximize exposure. At the end of the day, I stand by the four rules mentioned above.

  1. Ask questions when you don’t understand.
  2. Request multiple keyword streams from Amazon, particularly ones they don’t offer that you can copy from other authors.
  3. The more specific and specialized the categories are, the better chance you have at finding your ideal readers.
  4. Always stay apprised of what comparable authors are doing.

Do those things, and you’ve won half the battle. Properly positioning yourself will entice Amazon to put their vast promotional machine behind you.

The other half requires developing relationships with your readers. Somehow I think my muse knows a lot about that particular subject. But I don’t have time to have that discussion today. I have promotional materials to write.

TS cover

Blurb:

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.

Roberto Cozza–Coz–faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war–if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.

Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play–and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.

As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.

Universal Purchase Link

Author Bio and Links:

Troilo Color Photo RT smaller

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Author Page | BookBub Author Page | Goodreads Author Page | Twitter | Other Social Media Links

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", will be released in March, 2019, by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, three chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

43 thoughts on “Mashup Marketing, Amazon, and a Muse–Guest Post by Staci Troilo #amreading #amwriting

  1. BINGO! Putting your gorgeous, sweaty hunk of a muse aside (which is very hard to do, I might add), this is exactly the post I needed to read today! I have to move all my books to KDP, and I want to recategorize them as I do. And I want to do a better job with that and keyword selection. After reading this, I don’t feel nearly as nervous about it all. Thanks for a wonderful post, Staci, and thanks to Julie for hosting you today. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, may I go back to staring at your muse’s? I promise not to touch. Much. 😉 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:
    Wonderful post from Staci Troilo’s blog tour. She’s with Julie Holmes today on Julie’s Facets of a Muse blog, and her post is not only an extremely amusing read, it gives you some great advice on categorizing your books on Amazon. (I’m SO doing this!) Check it out, and don’t forget to share!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for hosting today, Julie. You-know-who is sitting here with a Cheshire smile, quite proud of himself that I transcribed our conversation here. I don’t wish to feed into his ego further, so I’ll just leave it at that and tell you we’re both grateful for how welcoming you are.

    And now, he’s insisting I get back to work. (I’m both rolling my eyes and fanning myself a bit.) Gotta go now…

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are very welcome, Staci! I’m starting to think feeding a muse’s ego isn’t the best way to get less distracted (or exchange him for a less visually-distracting model–wait, scratch that 😀 Not giving my Muse up!)

      Yes, back to work. And I think I hear someone discussing butt-in-chair, bullwhip, and creative encouragement outside the door. I’d better go, too. You can be a guest here any time!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Staci, this is so helpful (and highly entertaining too, LOL). I need to start paying attention to my indie releases and marketing them again. When I set them up I probably didn’t make use of the best keyword strings. It’s great to know you can request specific choices from Amazon.

    Congrats again on Tortured Soul. It’s great to see it getting so much exposure during the blog tour!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great post, Staci. I started updating my categories this year. Amazon actually will allow 10 (if I recall correctly). But you’re right that you have to contact them to do it, and you must provide the exact wording and symbols. It takes a bit of work and research, but once it’s done, it’s done… until something changes. Ha ha. Good luck with the book and Happy Marketing!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I loved this! Great information, BUT…I want a Muse now. And not just any old Muse. I want one like yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Judi. Trust me when I say “be careful what you wish for” because… well, you can see. If you decide it’s worth it, I’m sure Julie or I could talk to our muses and see if they know someone looking for a writer to inspire.

      Liked by 2 people

    • LOL! I know, right? I had no idea my Muse could request a muse for another writer. He must have some sort of seniority, or tenure, or whatever muses have. There must be some sort of organization; I mean, they have conventions, and refresher training. Fair warning though: distraction is a real danger with some of these muses 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I loved your muse tagging along after a workout to this guest post:) Thanks for the category information, too! I really y enjoyed this post. Thanks for hosting Julie.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nice info about the key words, Staci – that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Hope the release is going well – and say ‘Hi’ to your muse for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Well, I learned something today. I’m so glad the muse interrupted you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I like the idea of guest blogging to promote your book. And this one is great. BTW, Staci, the book sounds wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  12. Great content, Staci. All things authors need to know. The muse doesn’t hurt either.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Only just found this on Marcia’s blog. I think my rather tired, antique muse needs a reboot! It’s a brilliant showcase for your writing talent and brightened up my day but it was also fantastically useful. I tried changing my categories for Kindle a couple of months ago and chose some, as you suggested, from authors of a similar genre. They were rejected outright as not part of Amazon’s official list. Then I asked for help directly from Amazon, explained the sort of thing I wanted and someone came up with a chain of categories specifically to match my requirements. I was truly grateful. However, now that I know that it IS possible to use categories other than the limited ones visibly on offer, I may go back again for some more tweaking. Thanks, Staci!

    Liked by 1 person

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