Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stacey Kayne on Promotion

Stacey Kayne
Maverick Wild
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Pub date: January 2008
Agent: Kim Lionetti

(Click to Buy)

Stacey Kayne is a multi-published author of western historical romance. The second book in her WILD series, Maverick Wild, blazed into bookstores this January. Watch for the second book in her BRIDE series, The Gunslinger’s Untamed Bride, coming this July.

Awards: Stacey is a four-time Golden Heart finalist and multi-award-winning author.

Web/Blog links:
Home Blog:
Group Blog:
Group Blog:

Maverick Wild: Haunted by a promise he couldn’t keep, and a past he can’t forget. Chance Morgan locked his heart away from the world—until part of his past travels halfway across the states to find him. Plagued by horse thieves and marriage-minded females, the last thing Chance needs is a woman on his ranch. Cora Mae Tindale is more than a distracting array of curls and curves . . . she holds the key to his heart and unleashes a desire he refuses to trust.

Stacey Kayne’s WILD World of Promotion

On July 24, 2006, lightning finally struck and I sold my first book! Two days later I was flying off to Atlanta for RWA National and had an amazing time cheering and celebrating with all my writing pals. My plane touched back down in California a week later, and that was when it hit me . . . in eight short months I would have a book on the shelves . . . that gave me four months to prepare . . . in the midst of meeting new deadlines—aaahhhh!!!!

For those on the brink of taking the fast drop from “When will I ever sell a blasted book!” to “Oh crap! I have a book coming out!!!” here’s some helpful tools to guide you into that rollicking world we call BOOK PROMOTION.

Stacey’s Promo Starter Kit:

  • Website—nowadays many websites are free (Go Daddy, or cost next to nothin’ and everyone is on the Internet! Websites are awesome for keeping your readers up to date with new books and what’s happening in your career.
  • Online Newsletter–don’t wait for that book to hit the shelves, get that book info up on your site and start growing your reader list during the excitement of your sale! Life flies by and many months pass before your baby makes it into bookstores. With a newsletter, you can help out those like me with memory-deficiency disorders, letting me know the book I’ve been waiting for is finally available. Some online newsletter services are actually free until your member list hits a certain number. I use Constant Contact, and I have friends who use Mail Chimp.
  • FREE Promo–ya just can’t beat it, and those promo dollars add up quick, so don’t pass these up! Your book is HUGE NEWS!!
  1. Send a press release (one-page announcement with book info, cover, a little bio and picture) to all your local newspapers, local news shows, online and local writing chapters.
  2. Book reviews–does your publisher send out for reviews? If not, this is another free promotion opportunity you want to jump on early, as most reviewers like to get the book 3-4 months before its release. Many review sites allow you to upload a pdf file of the book, which is handy and saves postage. Some quick review sites: Romance Junkies, All About Romance, Love Western Romances, Romance Reader At Heart, CataRomance, The Romance Reader, Historical Romance Club, Novel Spot, Arm Chair Reviews, New and Used Books . . . (there’s a ton–Google).
  3. Many online book review sites and industry blogs (perhaps your agent’s *g*) offer Author Interviews and Guest Spots–great venue for meeting new readers. Check it out and get hooked up!
  • Bookmarks–readers, booksellers, and reader groups love ’em! They’re handy, useful, and easy to pass out. I use Earthly Charms for mine (sample posted on my blog), but there are many online bookmark sources available. If you’re going to do bookmark promotion, I also suggest using Pat Rouse’s Reader Group List. The list is purchased through Pat for around $80, and lists just about every Reader Group in existence with names and contact information, genre preferences (this alone is fabulous, because you know you’re sending your bookmarks to folks who read your kind of book), and ready-print Avery mailing label files with all the addresses and the number of members in each reader group. Romantic Times also offers a program called RT Booksellers That Care program—you send them 7,000 bookmarks bundled in groups of ten, and for about a hundred dollars they’ll distribute the bookmarks to bookstores across the U.S.—info can be found on the RT website. Personally I prefer Pat Rouse’s list, simply because I hear back from booksellers who’ve appreciated my bookmarks—if you can do both bookmark programs, even better.
  • Author Promotion Site–such as Fresh Fiction, The Romance Club, Author Island (to name a few) reach a broad audience and offer all kinds of promotion packages. I’ve used features on each of these and have a membership with Fresh Fiction. Running a contest on these sites is great for building an online Newsletter list—Fresh Fiction offers an Excel spreadsheet of entrants (can be in the 1000s!) that is easily uploaded to online Newsletter sites.
  • Online Book Banners–reader sites and review sites often have space for website book banners that link to your website (sample posted on my blog). Some review sites and author promotion sites create banners that can be fairly inexpensive, $10-$50. Some sites will post banners for free, others charge between $10 and $25 a month.
  • Magazine Ads–personally, I do three mag ads for each book–Romantic Times, The Romance Writers Report, Romance Sells. All have to be reserved 3-4 months in advance. If you have a release date, it’s never too early to reserve your spot. Because I like one-stop shopping and Su at Earthly Charms is great to work with, she also designs my ads for me, but you can do them yourself if you’re far more computer savvy than I am.
  • Group Blog–I joined up with Petticoats & Pistols, a western authors' blog started by Pam Crooks, a site devoted to western readers. This year some other writer pals and I launched Writers At Play, a multi-genre group blog. I love group blogs for two specific reasons, cross-promotion (sharing of friends and readers), and shared responsibility—blogging is time-consuming, but a day or two a month is manageable (usually!).
  • Extras–totally not a necessity, but a couple things I like to have for book signings and writing conferences are fridge magnets with my logo and pens with my website and logo. I also offer them free to my readers who want to mail me a SASE. I used Earthly Charms for my pens, and have purchased buttons and magnets with my logo on them from and A logo is another option. I went with a dragonfly theme because I wanted something that was visually appealing and, well, I love dragonflies. Perhaps not the best branding strategy, but they sure look nice on the fridge or pinned to a conference badge!

And last but not least, an author's best promotion is to write another great book.

So, that wraps up my spiel on quick-start promotion—a list I wish I would have had a year and a half ago. Anyone else have promo tips that have worked well? For the readers out there, help us out—what type of promo items do you like best?


Jacquie Rogers said...

Great article, Stacey, and thanks for the terrific suggestions!


Vicki said...

This is a great post and something that all of us aspiring or published need to think about and prepare for.

Last year at Nationals I really didn’t know who Stacey was, but picked up one of her pens and bookmarks, along with a couple others in the free room. I’ve used both all year long. I would add that if you are going to give away pens, make sure they are good ones, otherwise the person will try it once and then toss it. Stacey’s rocks! The bookmark caught my eye first because of the sexy body on it, but the added beads were plus.

Just a little plug here for Maverick Wild. The book is a must read. I started it and finished it on Saturday and though I should have been working on my own edits, I couldn’t put it down. In fact, I loved it so much I bought another one (mine is signed, thank you so much Stacey!) and I’m giving a copy of it away this week over on my blog.

I think the blog or group blog is a must. Not that having a blog will sell your book, it won’t. You still have to write the really great book, but it will start promoting you. Also, visit other peoples blogs, leave comments, they or their readers will come to yours and check you out.

Aimlesswriter said...

Lots of great information, thank you!
I only pray I'll need it some day soon.

Anne Carrole said...

Great article Stacey. Thanks for mentioning Love Western Romances. (BTW, anyone who hasn't read Stacey's books is in for a treat. Mustang Wild rec'd honorable mention for Best Western Romance 2007 from LWR and Maverick Wild will be one of the nominees for 2008 based on the 5 spur review it rec'd.)Great tips! Thanks--Anne Carrole

Anonymous said...

Fabulous, Stacey. Your energy is infectious! Thank you.

Marcia James said...

Great post, Stacey! I'm a PR consultant in my "day job", and you offered a great list of PR options for authors!

The number of romance readers is very large (and they're voracious), but since it's still a finite number, I like to try to "grow the market" whenever possible. One way is to identify elements about your book that might appeal to a niche market.

For example, if an author has a heroine who's a teacher, the author can send a press release about the book to the newsletter editor for a teachers' association. If an author has a hero who drives a vintage Mustang, the author can send a press release to vintage Mustang collector clubs. Most libraries have several reference books (e.g., The Encyclopedia of Associations) that list thousands of organizations and clubs by subject.

And if an author can interest a person in reading her romance -- someone who might never have sampled a romance before -- then that person might join the ranks of romance readers. ;-)

By the way, I have a list of PR options that I've compiled from suggestions by other authors and from my own experiences, and I email this free PR file to any author who wants it. If anyone is interested, just go to my Web site ( and request it through my "Contact Me" page.

Happy promoting!
-- Marcia James ;-)

Mona Risk said...


I have been following your suggestions to promote my new book, TO LOVE A HERO. In addition to the promo items you recommend, I participate in chats where authors post an excerpt of their books. My book being an e-book, chats help a lot to network and expose it to readers.

I read all Stacey's books and love them.

Terry Stone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for a fantastic post! As someone figuring out the promotion thing for the first time, this list is a one-stop shop for great ideas!

Betty Hanawa said...

Great suggestions, Stacey. I also like to comment on the various review sites readers' groups and message boards. My publisher (The Wild Rose Press) sets up days at with different review site (plus their own readers' loops and message boards) for us to post excerpts.

Terry Stone said...

Major flub in the previous post so I'll try again.

Stacey, I know that you are published by Harlequin historicals and they are the line I am interested in targeting. I was wondering if they contributed to any promotion at all or if they left the majority of it up to you?

Your list was extremely helpful, I only hope I have the opportunity to use it someday.

Kimber Li said...

All good stuff, Ms. Kayne.

Also, don't forget to send ARCs to blogging book reviewers like me. Enduring Romance also has a sister blog for book trailers. If an author has a strong on-line presence, book trailers can be a good promotion investment.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Jacquie! Thanks for stopping in :)

Hi Vicki--THANK YOU!! When I picked out my pens I went for something that would make *me* stop and pick it up--vibrant green catches my attention ever time ;-) Just like with my logo, I wanted something I'd want to keep around. Thank you for the compiments on my books and for your input!

Anne, Love Western Romances is a FABULOUS site!!! You're a gift to Western authors :-) And y'all do a fab job running the site and keeping it fresh! Thanks so much for the book plugs *g* and for stopping in to post!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Stacey--

Great tips. Thanks for sharing. And I loved MAVERICK. :-)

All the best--Brenda Novak

kris said...

Stacey, thanks so much for sharing this VERY comprehensive list. And I still get a thrill every time I see your name on a cover!

Question: is there any one form of promotion (other than a website) that you've found to be significantly more valuable than others?


Charlene Sands said...

Hi Stacey,
All very good info on promotion. Thanks for sharing. You really do a lot and get maximum use of everything!
Charlene Sands

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, Stacey. Wonderful tips. And great timing, too. The Accidental Demon Slayer just went up for pre-sale on Amazon and it really hit me that this book is coming out soon!

And I have to say Marcia James's list is wonderful too. I met her through the RWA Kiss of Death chapter and continue to be impressed with just how helpful, generous and downright nice romance authors can be. It makes the journey that much more fun.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Claudia! Thanks for stopping in :)

Great advice, Marcia! You definitely don't want to limit yourself when it comes to your audience. Thanks for sharing!

Another great tip, Mona! Chats are a ton of fun and great for networking and meeting new readers. Glad I could help to get the word out about TO LOVE A HERO--it's a great book :) Thanks for adding to the discussion!

Stacey Kayne said...

Congratulations Veronica!! Have fun with it :) I look at bookmarks as my own personal trading cards *g*

Hi Betty! Thanks for stopping in to share. Author days on review sites sound great!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Terry, fantastic! The Harlequin Historical editors have been amazing, an absolute dream to work with. As for promotion, selling to a "series" line has its pros and cons. On the upside, you have bookclub sales--you're packaged in a "series" and sold to an instant audience who subscribe to HH. Harlequin also publishes an online newsletter and can plug your book. I've been lucky to have each of my books mentioned during my month of sales, and my second book was also a giveaway as the "free" book for anyone who signed up for the bookclub one month--all of which is great for getting your name out there. And I don't know if y'all have noticed that Harlequin's web banners are EVERYWHERE, Earthlink, Google, Yahoo...they certainly have a strong web presence. On the "series" down side, HH's are only sent out for ONE review--RT. So, for HH much of the mass market promo is left up to the author. I think HH's are a unique series line as they are truly single title westerns sold in a bundle through bookclub sales - but we also want to reach that single title audience who's out there looking for a great historical (hopefully western *g*) read :) Which is why I'm a strong believer in heavy promotion, hoping my magazine ads, banners and bookmark distribution will tap into the single title audience.

Wishing you much luck with your submissions!

Stacey Kayne said...

I flubbed on my description of the HH series line---they aren't just single title WESTERNS (that was my personal bias slipping in *lol*)---they are single title HISTORICALS (regencey, Scotish, name it) that are bundled and sold through the bookclub. Each month there's a new title from each historical subgenre--offering a great variety of time periods.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Kimber! You are oh so right! book trailers are a venue I've not tackled. I think because I've had dial-up internet so long, anything I have to download just aggrivates me *lol* But book trailers are definitely a hot item, and review blogs are fab!

Thanks for sharing!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Brenda ~ Thanks for stopping by. You've reminded me of another great promotion---DONATIONS!! Brenda hosts a fantastic auction to raise money and awareness for juvenile diabetes. Your donations help to raise money for a wonderful cause. Last year I donated my first two books in a weekend loot bag. This year I'm donating a fabulous leather saddle purse with my books and some other goodies. One of my group blogs is also putting together a basket goodies for the auction. Be sure to check out her site for the May auction!!

I also donate books to my local library and to writers' conferences, as well as bookmarks and gift baskets. One bundle of books I donated to a local charity auction sold for over a hundred dollars--that was FUN :)

Terry Stone said...

Stacey, thank you so much for answering my questions. My main concern was that they only distribute once a month, but I felt that it would be worth it as they have subscribers, that way people who might not pick up a new author would have my book and might enjoy it enough to buy the next one. (Slapping forehead) And of course they can always go online and buy them, which is how I first got to read your first one, months after it had been released. But it's nice to hear an established author saying that it's working out well for them.

That's okay on saying 'Western' since that's what I write too ;0) If only more people thought like us.

Kim Lenox said...

Great post on promo Stacey!

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Kris!! Thank you :) That's a tough question. I think online newsletters are particularly valuable. No matter how they found your site, if a reader likes your work they have the option to sign up and stay connected so that they don't miss future releases. I think a reader newsletter list can really help to build a readership, and is another reason why I think an author can benefit by starting them once the book is sold--get up the excerpt and newsletter sign-up box :)

Stacey Kayne said...

Charlene, my fellow Petticoats & Pistols filly :-) Thanks for stopping in to post!

Angie, I love the title of your debut release!! Congratulations, and wishing you a ton of presales :-) Thanks for posting!

Stacey Kayne said...

Your welcome Terry. HH's are also in most Wal Marts, Targets and the major bookstores. So you definitely get good distribution :) I love getting emails from readers and relatives in Wisconsin, Colorado, Misouri, Pennsylvania...saying they just saw me in Wal Mart ;-)

And hey, thanks for buying my book!!

Stacey Kayne said...

Kim! A perfect example of an excerpt nabbing a reader---I saw a post announcing a new website so checked it out, read like three lines of her excerpt and new I'd found a new fave author :) OMG, I was mad the excerpt ended! Great teaser, Kim--looking forward to reading the book!

Francesca Hawley said...

Great post Stacey. One thing though...

DON'T forget your local library!!!

As a librarian, I'm always on the lookout for a book to review for my weekly newspaper column. Also, I love to find area authors I can bring in for a program/book signing. It's great publicity for the library and for the author. Not only that, but librarians network. Consider attending library conferences for promotion. ALA (American Library Association) has an annual conference where you can find thousands of enthusiastic promoters. Also, PLA (Public Library Association) has a national conference every two years. This years conference will take place in Minneapolis, MN from March 25-29. RWA has had a booth in the past, contact them about attending to sign some of your books. P.S. Librarians love bookmarks!

Christy said...

Great article! Very useful.

I don't know if you've heard about, but you can create an online store through them, selling your promotional merchandise. (Like bags, tee-shirts, coffee mugs, etc., for your diehard fans). I'm not sure, but I think they're a print-on-demand service, so you don't need to create/warehouse inventory.

Also, just a thought... but what about creating a calendar with your characters? Collaborate with a graphic artist to create snapshots of scenes and print it through Unless that violates the agreement you already have with your publisher?

Anyway, those were just a few thoughts on how to generate extra publicity that crossed my mind...

Stacey Kayne said...

Thank you, Francescia! Definitely don't want to forget the libraries! RWA will be at the National Library conference--I'm bummed that missed the chance to send in some books. It was on my calender...but alas...I really need a book promotion fairy *g*

My local library has been a wonderful supporter of my books, and has allowed me to host local book signings. Definitely take in books and bookmarks :-)

Thanks for sharing!

Carla Capshaw said...

Great blog, Stacey! As an author in the "Oh crap, I have a book coming out category", I really appreciate all this great info!


Stacey Kayne said...

Great suggestions, Wordsmith! Cafe Press is really cool. We use them for our Writers At Play stie:

You can design pretty much anything, and it's a free service. You can also increase the price of the items to make a profit. We chose not not increase the price. We buy the itmes to give away as prizes on our blog site.

The calender sounds like a fun idea :) Thanks for your input!

Stacey Kayne said...

Congratulations, Carla!! I'm anxiously awaiting your first book cover :-)

Mary Connealy said...


Stacy, wow, that is so impressive. I didn't know that about you.
I'm one of Stacy's Petticoats and Pistols pals. We have so much fun over there...maybe TOO MUCH fun, but oh, well. We all love books.

Oh, and, I'm saving this post, great information here. The whole Book Promotion this is beyond scary to me and Way, Way out of my comfort zone.

Mary Connealy said...

Oh, and Francesca, I WRITE a weekly book review column, too. I don't suppose you'd want to go syndicated and take it over????

No pay, so add that to the lure.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Mary! Thanks for dropping in. Yup--three Long Historical GH finals with my westerns and one Single Title final with a romantic suspense. In 2006 I was likely one of the most decorated and frustrated writers you could hope to meet *LOL* For all those other decorated, frustrated writers out there, PERSISTANCE is everything. Keep writing, keep putting it out there. Lightning will strike :)

I know what you mean about promotion being out of your comfort zone, Mary. Same here. Petticoats & Pistols was the first blog I'd taken a crack at, and I was terrified! But it's the readers and authors (like you--whom we lassoed up *g*) who make it fun and reminds me that romance readers and writers are the best people around :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Stacey, what a fantastic article. Thanks for all that information! You're a source of infinite wisdom, my friend! And congratulations on Maverick Wild - what a fantastic read! I love a great Western historical and I'm so happy that Harlequin are continuing to support the genre.

Mary Paine said...

Thanks so much, Stacey, for the great advice. My first novel, A Dangerous Dream, was released in January and I've been working hard on marketing and promotion. I'm eager to learn more and your article is wonderfully helpful!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacey Kayne said...

Anna! Thanks for stopping in :)

I'm reminded of another great promotional tool, and that's cross promoting with friends. Swap bookmarks and note cards with your pals so that you can tuck a few extra goodies when sending out prizes and such to your readers.

Thank you, Anna! And right back atcha--Avon is lucky to have you ;-)

Francesca Hawley said...

Mary C. - trying to get one column a week ready for my library readers is challenging enough thanks. LOL I don't get extra pay for the column but I think most people in town know who I am. Makes going out and getting wild a bit of a challenge. ;-)

Stacey Kayne said...

Congratuations on your fist book Mary! Thansk for stopping in to post :-)

Stacey Kayne said...

LOL, Wanda! I'd buy a ticket *g*. Sounds like something they'd host at RT ;-) I sure wish I could go this year!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Stacey!
Thanx for such a great list! I'm another of those "Oh crap, I have a book coming out" so I really appreciate you providing such great ideas!

Mary Connealy said...

All you'd have to do is email it straight to my editor. The same one you're doing now, Francesca.
Uh......I haven't exactly ASKED her about it.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Aunti Cin!! If ya gotta have an "Oh crap" moment..."I have a book coming out!" is an awesome sentence to follow ;-) Woohoo! No doubt that book will make a splash--I can't wait :)

Missy said...

I'm not a writer, but I am a reader! ;-) I LOVE Stacey's books!!!

Stacey sent me some of her bookmarks, one of the things I love most about hers are the book cover art is on the bookmark. So when I am reading somewhere and have the bookmark sitting in front of me people notice it and see the hot cowboy ;-) and they ask me about it, then I can tell them what a great book it is. And if they are interested in getting a copy they remember what the cover looks like so it is easier then me telling them a name and them looking for it in the bookstore. I know personally, if I know what the cover looks like it is easier for me to find it. LOL
I also love the magnet she sent. I have a thing for dragonflies too. :-)

I first found out about Stacey's books when she had a contest with her friend Tawny Weber. I went to Tawny's website, saw the contest, and I had to read an excerpt from Maverick Wild to find an answer for the contest. Once I read the excerpt I was HOOKED!!! So I think having contests, and blogs, etc. are really great for finding new readers! :-)

GO WILD!!! Woo-Hoo!!! ;-)

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Missy! Thank you for sharing some reader insight :) I'm thrilled to hear my bookmarks work so well. And hooray for cross promotion!! *g*

Tawny Weber and I are good pals and we were excited when we found out we both had a January release. We write completely different genres, Blaze (sexy contemporary) and western histoircal (but we both had HOT overs *g*) and figured a joint contest would be fun for mixing it up -- and we shared the cost ;-)

Thanks for stopping in, Missy!

KJ Howe said...


Fabulous post. Your promotional tips were excellent. And it's a pleasure to see someone so talented achieve success. Keep up the great work!

As for group blogs, we're having a blast doing that at the Romance Bandits. Given that there are 20 members, it makes contributing managable. I started doing a personal blog, but found it impossible to find the time. I highly recommend teaming up--not only do you have the support of your group members, you have diversity and a variety of topics.

Looking forward to seeing you in San Francisco!


Stacey Kayne said...

Hey Kim! ROMANCE BANDITS is a super fun blog :) Love hanging out with the Banditas--wish I could get over there more often. Y'all really know how to keep a group blog energized, and the support of your group is amazing ;-)

Thanks for dropping in to share!

Anonymous said...

Great tips, Stacey! My first book comes out in November so this is all very timely for me.

Renee said...

Stacey, awesome info. Thanks for sharing.


jo robertson said...

Wow, Stacey, great information on promotion! I'm saving it for when I finally get one of my books published LOL.

Stacey Kayne said...

Fantastic, Gina! Wishing you much success with your debut release :)

Stacey Kayne said...

Hey Jo :) Print it---because that day will come! Keeping it crossed that day will be SOON.

Stacey Kayne said...

Hi Renee! Thanks for stopping in :)

Misque Writer said...

Thanks, Stacey, that's a wonderful pr starter kit.

Stacey Kayne said...

My pleasure, Misque Writer :-)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to share their thoughts on promotion--and huge THANK YOU to Kim and Jessica for inviting me over.

Peter N. Jones said...

Thanks for the great tips. I'm still learning the ropes of book marketing. I've put together a list of 3 pages of sites you can upload your book information for free at: another resource for marketing your book. Just go to Marketing Your Writing Online and clikc on the "Free Book Listing Sites" link. The more resources, the better.

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Heather Moore said...

All great ideas, Stacey! Congrats on all your success. One thing I do is have several thousand bookmarks printed and visit bookstores and ask if I can slip them inside books in my same genre. 9 out of 10 store managers say yes.

Something I received from another author was a small bottle of lotion that had her book cover on the sticker label. I used that lotion for a couple of months and was always reminded of her book.