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April 05, 2017

Using the A to Z Challenge to Market Your Book



April Question:
 Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

Of course, I have! Why not???

The very first year I participated in the A to Z Challenge, I used it to network. My blog was in its third year with very little readers. By the end of the Challenge I had 32 new followers!

In 2015, my theme was disasters after my Disaster Crimes Series, which got a wonderful response. A couple of times I promoted Hurricane Crimes in my posts. Then, later in April, when Ghost of Death came out, I shared the cover art, blurb, and links for it at the end of each post. 

Last year, I did not participate in the Challenge, but Seismic Crimes had it's release day in April. As a matter of fact, it came out on S day. How perfect! I set up a Google Form and asked if any bloggers participating in A to Z would like to add a little promo for my book in their S post. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I had around 20 (+) bloggers sharing the info for Seismic Crimes in their A to Z post that day.


When there's something like the A to Z Challenge, or even IWSG Day, you SHOULD use it for marketing and networking!



OPTIONAL MAY QUESTION: 
What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?


Reminder: The questions are optional and meant as a prompt if you struggle with what to post. You don't have to answer a question if you don't want to. :)


145 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

A good idea to use the A to Z Challenge. It gets quite alot of attention. Hope all is well.

Yvonne.

Michelle Wallace said...

32 new followers in your first A to Z challenge is not bad at all!
Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month, Chrys!
Writer In Transit

Cathrina Constantine said...

I also gained many new followers when I participated in the A to Z Challenge. This year I'm being lazy and visiting other blogs instead...

Thank you for so-hosting Chrys!

M.J. Fifield said...

32 new followers is an excellent number, indeed. Glad you've had success with this challenge.

Thanks for co-hosting!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad the challenge helped you increase your followers and was a good marketing tool. For me, it doesn't fit with my blog theme and is too much work. Thanks for co-hosting!

sage said...

This is my second A-Z and I've used them both to do a bit of research that I would enjoy. I know I picked up a couple of new followers last year.

Lidy said...

I remember your A-Z disaster theme. I chose zombie apocalypse as the worst disaster, shudder. Never used A-Z for book marketing but will keep that in mind when I have the opportunity to.
As for the weirdest/coolest thing I researched that'll be numerology, Wicca spells, elemental magic and faeries for my YA story. And dream meanings/analysis for my romance.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Coming out on S day - now that was perfect timing.
Today is one of the biggest traffic days of the month. Why wouldn't you use it or the Challenge to promote?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And thanks for co-hosting today!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I read Chapter After Chapter awhile back - it's a good one! I also liked her book, Page After Page.

Yolanda Renée said...

LOL, took me awhile to find a picture to show the Crena, for this A to Z that wasn't pornographic. Statues aren't pornographic, well, some of them might be considered such, but Venus is well known. :)
Happy co-hosting!

Crystal Collier said...

Yes! Agreed. If you're going to do the A to Z, you should make it work for you. It's too much work otherwise! You know, back in the day, when blogging was THE thing, it wasn't unheard of to gain 50+ followers from the A to Z. Sometimes I wish I'd hopped on that trend when it was most beneficial. *shrugs*

sherry fundin said...

Wow, 50, Crystal. Too bad it still doesn't happen. I guess ya do what ya have to. Have fun with it, chrys.

sherry @ fundinmental

Jen said...

I love the idea of using the A-Z as a chance to do a little light pushing for tour work. I would keep it fun and not make it too market-y but it could definitely work!

And I love the May question! I've researched so many weird things...

Thank you for co- hosting!
-Jen

Sandra Hoover said...

I felt I had too much on my plate to handle the A-Z Challenge this year, but I can see many benefits to participating. I'm active on Goodreads and moderate several groups. I've purchased Chapter By Chapter and plan to participate in the discussion. Thanks for being an April co-host, Chrys!

Karen Walker said...

I can see how it works to market if you have a blog with a whole lot of followers and lots of commenters, but it never translated to book sales for me. At least not that I can see. Maybe I'm wrong.

Huntress said...

I never intentionaly set out to use A to Z as a marketing tool. I had hopes it would result in sales but other than displaying the badge, nope, didn't do anything.
Thanks for hosting this month!
(the worst, ickiest thing I had to research was how entrails looked outside the body. EEK. Bet there was some metadata going crazy on me)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

You guys are rocking the IWSG! I'm bowing out of the A-Z, which stinks because it's a lot of fun- when you have the time.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I had great success with gaining followers the first few years. Not so much last year. It was too much for me this year but I have the greatest of respect for those doing it.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I may have told you already that I finally watched Impossible. Wow, that was a powerful film. I didn't care if it stretched the boundaries of reality, it still brought to light the loving strength of family. I enjoyed it very much. Best to you, Chrys. Thanks for co-hosting.

Meka James said...

I learned about the A to Z challenge a little late so didn't add it to my to-do list for this year. It's something I will research more for next year possibly.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Every year I've participated, I've used it to market a book.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Thank you so much for co-hosting April's IWSG question. I have yet to publish a book, so I'm learning lots about A to Z Challenge. Like Karen Walker, I don't have many followers to my blog. I'm hoping to increase my numbers though IWSG and learn how you all make A to Z work for you.
This is my first time here, so I will follow your blogging journey. All best to you!

Chrys Fey said...

The attention it gets is a tip off that using it to market is smart. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I was so excited when my followers count kept rising during the Challenge.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm being lazy by pretty much taking a blogging break this month. lol

Chrys Fey said...

It was more followers than I had expected.

Chrys Fey said...

A to Z doesn't fit with your blog theme? You can tailor A to Z to any theme. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Using A to Z to research favorite topics is rewarding. And a bonus!

Chrys Fey said...

If you think of a theme or topic of one of your books, you can use it for the A to Z. Such a simple way to promote without being so "buy my book."

Chrys Fey said...

It was perfect timing, and I had nothing to do with it. lol

You're welcome. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Both of her books are good. I'll have a little topic going for Page After Page.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Those month-long challenges are time consuming, yet so worth it! I may jump back in next time.

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! That made me laugh.

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! I also wish I had known about A to Z when it first started and really had momentum.

Chrys Fey said...

50 new followers would be awesome, wouldn't it?

I'm not doing A to Z this year. It's a sort-of blogging break for me. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's the key. Keeping it fun and informative. Not all booky, spammy.

So have I. :P

Chrys Fey said...

I felt the same way, which is why I didn't sign up. But I can co-host for IWSG. :)

I am thrilled you'll be participating in the book discussion.

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't have a lot of followers when I first did A to Z and I benefited a lot by gaining more numbers. And the key with A to Z is that you have to reach other bloggers for it to work.

Chrys Fey said...

When I did it for marketing, I did get some sales. Not astronomical numbers, but a few that made me happy. :)

Ewww!!!!

Chrys Fey said...

I'm bowing out of A to Z this year, too. I didn't do it last year either...but maybe next year...

Chrys Fey said...

Yeah. Now, it seems like people don't follow back anymore. I had that experience my second year participating. *shrugs*

Chrys Fey said...

Impossible is a fantastic film. And it's actually very realistic. :)

cleemckenzie said...

I thought you did a great job with the A to Z while you launched your book. And, of course, "Why not?" use it as a promo tool.

Chrys Fey said...

Next year is always good. I might participate next year.

Chrys Fey said...

Smart.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, Victoria! A to Z is a great way to network, too. Next year will be here before we know it, and it'll be a good time to join. :)

Chrys Fey said...

You said it!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Lee!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Just getting back into this writing life we all share after a brief absence. I will certainly take the A to Z suggestions to heart and use them in the near future.

Ryan Carty said...

A clever use of the A to Z challenge, even if the publication date coinciding with the letter S was accidental. When opportunity presents itself, take advantage, right?

S.E. White said...

Good to hear that the A to Z challenge makes a measurable change. I'll consider it, when my blog has aged a little more. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

Chrys Fey said...

That's great! I hope your transition back into the writing life is a smooth and happy one. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Absolutely!

Chrys Fey said...

That sounds like a good plan.

Michelle Athy said...

I've never done A to Z. It sounds too overwhelming for my particular blogging style and the amount of time I have for blogging--especially since I'm trying to pull back on social media, so I can more writing time.

Pat Hatt said...

Getting new followers and marketing away are sure wins at the end of the day

Chrys Fey said...

It can be overwhelming, which is why I haven't participated this year or last year.

Chrys Fey said...

They sure are.

Lynn La Vita said...

I'm constantly impressed with the fresh new suggestion IWSG offers it's members. I never dreamed how challenging promoting our blogs or books can be. Once, I'm back to posting regularly, I'll be implementing some of these super ideas. Nice to have one place to find so many options. Thanks for co-hosting this April.

J.Q. Rose said...

Chris, you certainly gave us some great ideas on how to use the A-Z for marketing books. I know it takes a lot of time and planning to make it successful. Thanks for co hosting.
JQ Rose

Julie Flanders said...

You can't beat the A-Z for making connections and networking. I met almost all of my blogger buddies thanks to the A-Z.
I joined the Goodreads group and have to get my copy of this book. I'm looking forward to being part of the group!

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Thank you for co-hosting #IWSG for April, Chrys, and for sharing your success stories of marketing during AtoZ. I will check out the Goodreads bookclub, also.

Pat Garcia said...

Thanks for co-hosting Chrys. You're right we should use the IWSG and A to Z for marketing and networking. I have begun to network with people in IWSG and WEP and it does make a different.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat

Chemist Ken said...

I may try the A to Z challenge one day, but only after I finish my book. As far as using it for marketing, we'll see how that works out when the time comes. Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG blog hop

Chrys Fey said...

I hope these ideas work for you, Lynn!

Chrys Fey said...

It's all about thinking outside the box. :)

Chrys Fey said...

A to Z and IWSG is where I met most of my blogger buddies. :)

Yay!!!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Gail! And thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you join our book club. :D

Chrys Fey said...

IWSG and A to Z are so easy to integrate into your marketing plans.

Carrie-Anne said...

I've indirectly promoted my writing during A to Z, since the themes on my main blog are related to my writing. Networking makes all the difference.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope A to Z is still alive and kicking then. I hope to participate next year, if it's still around. Fingers crossed!

Chrys Fey said...

That's smart and the way to do it.

Nicola said...

The A to Z is a great networking tool. I've met so many wonderful people. Thanks for all your hard work with the Goodreads book club!! AND the IWSG newsletter. I hope you find time to write :)

Adrienne Reiter said...

Hi Chris! This is the second time I've heard of the A to Z challenge. I'll have to check it out. I also need to get back to Goodreads and find you. Awesome work. As always, you rock!

Shari Elder said...

It works better for networking, which we may be able to use for marketing. It seems to be both strategic and serendipitous.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank YOU, Nicola! I haven't been writing lately due to depression but the Book Club is really lifting my spirits and motivation. :)

Chrys Fey said...

The A to Z is an interesting challenge. They changed it a bit this year (there isn't a sign up list) but it's great fun if you have the time and stamina.

Thanks! You rock, too!

Chrys Fey said...

Absolutely! Networking and marketing go hand in hand.

Sarah Foster said...

Doing the A to Z Challenge in the past definitely helped me to get some more followers and meet some other bloggers. The IWSG, too, probably more so!
Thanks for co-hosting!

Sadira Stone said...

I look forward to having the chance to use the A-Z challenge more fruitfully next year. Kudos to you for your intriguing book titles.

Olga Godim said...

I never participated in the A-Z challenge but I like your approach. Maybe next year, I'll try something similar.

Chrys Fey said...

That's definitely something these challenges/blog hops are good for. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you! I have fun naming my books.

Chrys Fey said...

Go for it!

Tonja Drecker said...

Glad A-Z helped so much! I'm excited about the book club and took a peek at the book...but need to do more :) Thanks for hosting!

Weaver said...

Yeah. I made tons of great friends doing it. My Aprils seem so busy anymore.

Chrys Fey said...

I'd love it if you participated in the book club. :)

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Great idea to use S day for your book! And I love next month's question. :)

Chrys Fey said...

April does seem to be a busy month for me every year.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month, Chrys. I'm so glad you've seen a benefit from the A to Z Challenge. I've not tried it, but those who do rave about it. Best wishes.

Juneta key said...

Thanks for co hosting. No have not tried the A to Z Challenge but have not missed an IWSG since I joined in 2014.

' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Anonymous said...

I like helping out a writing buddy with their book during the A to Z. It gets more eyes on the book.

Lisa Thomson said...

Great idea for utilizing the A-Z challenge! Your new book club (I joined!) sounds fantastic. I love GR but not on it enough.

Chrys Fey said...

The answers next month will be fun.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm surprised to learn how many people haven't participated in A to Z, but it does take a lot.

Chrys Fey said...

Good for you!

Chrys Fey said...

Helping writing buddies is an awesome thing to do.

Chrys Fey said...

I can't wait to really dive in with the book club for discussions and more. :)

Liz A. said...

A to Z is a great networking tool. And you used it well.

Lee Lowery said...

Thanks for the great explanation of how the challenge works in real life! There's a lot of potential to mine in reaching readers. I'm intrigued by group - just afraid there aren't enough hours in the day to participate in a meaningful way. Thanks for co-hosting today.

Chrys Fey said...

Our days can get very busy, but our book club is laid back. You can read the book or not. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It sure is.

Christine Rains said...

The Challenge is a fantastic opportunity. I love seeing the clever things people come up with to promote their work. Thanks for co-hosting! :)

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Thanks for sharing about the GR group--I hadn't seen that yet and it looks like a good resource.

And thanks for visiting!
Rebecca The Ninja Librarian’s Favorite Characters and IWSG

Chris Votey said...

This year I am using AtoZ to market my book. First time I've done that. So far so good. People are enjoying it, and I hope it helps people think up ideas for characters.

Thank you for co-hosting this month.

Nancy Gideon said...

Thanks for co-hosting Chrys! Love your post. I'm so impressed by writers who take advantage of a promo op and use it to market wisely.

Tara Tyler said...

i totally loved doing a to z for 6 years - feel like something is missing not doing it this year, but my schedule wouldnt allow me to. i got many new followers as well, visiting is the key to getting visits back. one year i promoted an upcoming release, but i also had a sub theme of writing tips.

happy april!
Tara Tyler Talks

Damaria Senne said...

Congrats on using the A to Z Challenge successfully to network and to market your books.

emaginette said...

After reading everyone's posts, I'm wondering if the piano tied to my butt is dragging me down--or just making me incredibly lazy. hehehe

Anna from elements of emaginette

Tamara Narayan said...

I remember those disaster posts. Those were among my favorites that year.

E is for Experiment: Turning the USS Eldridge Invisible

Cherie Colyer said...

I agree, if you have a book coming out why not make your theme for A to Z something that will help to promote your book. :)

Thanks for co-hosting.

Liesbet said...

The Book Club idea is a wonderful one! Your suggestions about marketing are another sign that you are an accomplished writer, Chrys! As a first-timer, promoting myself still feels weird. And, how serendipitous that your S-book came out on S-day that year. :-) Thanks for co-hosting (again).

Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

Chrys Fey said...

The Challenge is an easy way to get clever with promo. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I hope you join.

You're welcome! And thanks for visiting mine. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Excellent! Keep it up.

And thank YOU for co-hosting. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Knowing when it use an advantage is important and A to Z is a great one.

Chrys Fey said...

6 years? Wow! Many who have done the Challenge weren't able to this year do to busy schedules. It's okay. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Damaria!

Chrys Fey said...

You have a piano tied to your butt?! :O

Chrys Fey said...

Really? That is awesome to hear. :D

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope you join our book club, Liesbet!

I was super lucky with my release, that was for sure. And don't worry, you'll being to get the hang of marketing.

SHON said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing!

Erika Beebe said...

I wish I had to time to do A to Z. Sigh. Let's see...the weirdest coolest thing for research... hmm...the funnest thing was visiting Oregon and hanging out for a week to research...the next coolest thing? Going on a ghost tour maybe of Boston? IT was really fun. :)

Raimey Gallant said...

I'm a little sad now that I didn't join the A to Z Challenge this year. Seems like such a great place to build community.

Magic Love Crow said...

Good for you, using the challenge this way! Excellent idea!

J.H. Moncrieff said...

What a brilliant strategy, to use the A to Z to debut your book through a multitude of different bloggers! Very wise.

From what I'm seeing, it's natural for people to take time off from the Challenge and come back to it another year. It's a rewarding experience, but a ton of work.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Chrys, I have not used A to Z to market my books. I like to have fun with it and just have a good time. I figure people are to bust visiting other blogs to listen to pitches and consider buying books.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for co-hosting and all that you do for IWSG!
I love next month's question. :)

Jenny Baranick said...

Now I kind of wish I had used it to promote my book!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for visiting!

Chrys Fey said...

It is. And since it changed, it might be an even better place to build community.

Chrys Fey said...

A ghost tour! I've wanted to do a ghost tour.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks!

Chrys Fey said...

It is a lot of work. I did it for two consecutive years and then didn't do it for two consecutive years. Now I'm thinking of doing it next year. :)

Chrys Fey said...

But the posts should never just be a book/sell pitch. It has to be fun, interesting, and engaging like my disaster theme from 2015.

Chrys Fey said...

Thank YOU, Tyrean!

Chrys Fey said...

Doing a Sarah Palin theme would be an easy one to promote your book. :)

Lux G. said...

I see a lot of awesome A-Z challenge entries. Good job to writers.

DMS said...

You have a lot of awesome marketing ideas. Loved hearing how you were able to promote your blog and books through A-Z. The form for S was a great idea! :)
~Jess

Misha Gerrick said...

I also used A to Z to market my books once, but not sure if it was particularly helpful. :-/

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for commenting, Lux!

Chrys Fey said...

Thank you, Jess!

Chrys Fey said...

It can be so-so. The networking and getting-the-word out aspects of A to Z are wonderful, though.