About Terry Brennan

A man committed to his faith, to his wife (for over 30 years), to his four children, their spouses, and his five grandchildren. During 22 years in journalism led The Mercury of Pottstown, PA to a Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing ... Editor and Publisher in Pottstown, PA; Alton, IL and Troy, NY ... Executive Editor at Ingersoll Publications - oversight of all US newsrooms for multi-national newspaper company with 400 newspapers in the US, Ireland and England. During a 20-year career in non-profit management, served as Vice President of Operations for the Christian Herald Association, parent agency of The Bowery Mission in New York City; COO of the National Organization on Disability (NOD) and Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless in NYC. Penn State Proud (Class of '68); die-hard Philly sports fan; hiker - I meet God in the mountains.

Marketing Book #3 in a Series – Part Three

Three months into this marketing plan, I’ve been able to avoid a nervous breakdown, work on the edits for The Aleppo Code, and Kregel Publications is about to launch its spring marketing for the fall releases. Now is the time to pick up the pace.

SocialMediaI’m still working the basic plan:

Social Media:

  • Twitter – Daily
  • Facebook Page Posts – Daily
  • Blog Posts – Weekly
  • LinkedIn – Change Profile Monthly

Newsletter – Send out at least one Newsletter each month:

(One of my goals for the newsletter as we get closer to the launch is to use contests or other vehicles to tie the three books together as THE JERUSALEM PROPHECIES series … accelerate the idea of people thinking of them as a series.)

 

March – Contest: Guess two of the main scene locations used in The Aleppo Code. Some of the scenes in the first two books were The Collector’s Club and the Humanities and Social Science Library on Bryant Park, NYC; The Western Wall and Zechariah’s Tomb, Jerusalem; St. Anthony’s Monastery, Egypt; Cairn T, Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland.

April/May – Tie in with Kregel Back List promotions.

June – Contest: What is The Most Powerful Weapon the world has ever seen?

July/August – Unveil the cover of The Aleppo Code.Aleppo Code Cover

September – Promote the coming E-Book promotion from Kregel.

October – Launch date for The Aleppo Code – create some tie in to ‘Midnight Madness’ … at midnight of launch day, the first 12 people who send me an email get a free autographed copy of The Aleppo Code.

Tasks For Me to Tackle:

  • Keep my website and Facebook Author page active and current.
  • Schedule out-of-town speaking engagements for May through December, particularly in those areas where I show higher readership; (This one is a reach, but it’s worth a try.)
  • Engage services of a marketing consultant to increase my standing and visibility as an ‘expert’ speaker on events in the Middle East.
  • In the summer, begin purchasing advertising on Facebook (Goodreads? Other outlets?) and discuss with Kregel and marketing consultant how to get the most impact and best results from these ads.
  • As the launch date gets closer, recreate some of the Guerilla Marketing that I did in New York City prior to the launch of The Sacred Cipher … plaster subways and Metro North trains with The Aleppo Code postcards … when the books show up, visit every B&N in New York City area, hand out post cards, autograph the in-store books, talk to store staff about placement.
  • In September/October schedule local speaking engagements/book signings including local libraries, churches, etc.
  • Arrange in advance for on-line interviews and any other interaction I can have with bloggers, reviewers, podcast producers, etc.
  • Tasks For Kregel to Tackle:
  • Continue to actively market the new series title – THE JERUSALEM PROPHECIES – in all possible outlets.
  • A place we stumbled during the launch of The Brotherhood Conspiracy is that the reviewers on the blog tour were different than the ones used for The Sacred Cipher. Many of the early reviews started “I wish I had known this was a sequel …” For that reason, setting up an effective blog tour for The Aleppo Code is critical.

(One of the great commitments Kregel has agreed to is to strengthen the blog tour for the Aleppo Code. Under consideration is a blog tour that provides all three books for the reviewers, so they can follow the story arc of the series.)

 

  • Implement a Back-List promotion to drive people to book stores.
    • Create E-Book promotion for both The Sacred Cipher and The Brotherhood Conspiracy prior to the launch of The Aleppo Code.

I’ve learned a few things from creating this marketing plan and then trying to implement it. One, this marketing stuff takes a real commitment – and a lot of time. Two, it’s worth it. And, three, the work doesn’t end once the book is launched. Great … when do I get some sleep?

Have you ever developed a marketing strategy like this? What was the most successful thing you did?

Marketing Book #3 in a Series – Part Two

How to Breathe Life Into A Back-List

MarketingI’ve never been much at the marketing side of this writing business … and I was born in the wrong generation to be adept at social media.

But I knew I had to do something out of my comfort zone. My first book, The Sacred Cipher, is still going strong after five years. Sales for its sequel, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, are disappointing. With the third and last book of the series, The Aleppo Code, due for an October launch, I needed to get to work.

So I proposed a year-long marketing plan to my publisher, Kregel Publications, and asked for their support and participation. This is what I proposed for the first three months:

The Marketing Plan – December thru February:

  • Social Media:
    • Twitter – Daily
    • Facebook Page Posts – Daily
    • Blog Posts – Weekly
    • LinkedIn – Change Profile Monthly
  • Newsletter – Send out at least one Newsletter each month (I currently have over 1,000 active email addresses in my mailing list and cull it after every mailing). A regular newsletter proved to be very valuable in creating buzz for the first book:
    • December – Announce the name of the series – THE JERUSALEM PROPHECIES series; Promote the October launch of the third installment; create a giveaway offer for Conspiracy and promote it in Facebook posts and on website.
    • January – Run a contest – What will be the section titles for The Aleppo Code?
      • Put all contests up on my website and on my Facebook Page – blog post and Tweet about them;
    • February – Additional clues for the section titles contest; Promote Kregel’s month-long Book Giveaway promotion on Goodreads.com.

What Was I Willing to Do?

  • Tasks for me to tackle:
    • Look for ways to expand my marketing reach – Connect with other CBA thriller writers to cross-promote … Follow 10 journalists on Twitter … Follow 10 thriller writers on Facebook – friend them and follow them (all in progress).
    • Begin sending personal messages to my 500-plus Facebook “Friends”.
      • Ask them to “Like” my Facebook Author page and be a follower on Twitter.
      • Write 50 posts per month for 10 months leading up to Aleppo Code launch.
      • Get them all done at least 30 days prior to Aleppo launch, if possible.

Authors on Facebook

(As of January 27, I have written personal Facebook messages to 186 of my 507 Facebook “friends”, asking them to click on the link and “Like” my Facebook Author page. My “Likes” have increased from 134 to 209, up 71 in the last week – 545% from the previous week )

 

What Was I Asking Kregel to Do?

  • Tasks for Kregel to tackle:
    • There is no obvious link connecting the first two books into a series. I asked a lot from Kregel to help create that linkage.
      • Redesign the E-Book covers to add THE JERUSALEM PROPHECIES to the cover … or add a tag line under my name on the cover, “Author of …”
      • Create “Back Ads” in each book promoting the others … or add thumbnails of the book covers to the bottom of the back cover.

(A lot of these requests were not practical. The marketing staff at Kregel explained that it would be too confusing to make changes to the covers of the E-Books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble but not be able to make any changes to the printed books already in circulation. But they did agree to create Back Ads (pages inside the books promoting the other books in the series) in The Aleppo Code and – if it goes to another printing – in The Sacred Cipher. – Terry)

 

  • I also asked Kregel to implement an E-Book promotion in February for both The Sacred Cipher and The Brotherhood Conspiracy. During an E-Book promotion in January of 2014, Cipher hit #2 and Brotherhood hit #6 in all E-Book sales on Amazon for that week. Wow! Let’s do it again.

(The entire E-Book promotion I asked for in February has been moved back to coincide with the launch of The Aleppo Code. The marketing staff at Kregel explained that there is a law of diminishing returns with E-Book promotions. They did one a year ago for both books and believe postponing the E-Book promotion until the fall will benefit all three books.)

February 6th: Accelerating the Pace Down the Stretch.

Marketing Book #3 in a Series – Part One

When I saw the marketing plan that Terry Brennan had put together for book #3 in his series, I knew others had to give it a long look. This plan has some remarkable forethought to it. It’s aggressive, thorough and … I think it’s going to work to help create awareness of his new book, as well as move copies of his previous book. If you’re a traditional or independently published author who has or will have a trilogy, keep this post handy.

–Greg Johnson, President, WordServe Literary

When a Series Didn’t Start That Way

Sacred Cipher CoverI’ve been fortunate and blessed to have two novels published and a third one on the way. The Sacred Cipher, published in 2009, has done well. It appears the book may soon go to a third printing and today, five years later, people are still picking it up – and posting their reviews on Amazon. The sequel, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, was released in 2013. It got a great review in Publisher’s Weekly and better reviews on Amazon than Cipher. But sales have lagged.

One reason is that I was very ill at the time of Brotherhood’s launch (I’m fine now, thanks). Another is that neither I, nor Kregel Publishing, knew this would be a three-novel series. It just started out as one book. So it wasn’t marketed as a series and Brotherhood hasn’t benefited from the “pull” that Sacred Cipher generated.

Since I have a personal stake in the success of these books, and a lot of years invested in them, I want to do everything I possibly can to promote the increased sales of The Sacred Cipher and The Brotherhood Conspiracy, particularly in anticipation of the launch of The Aleppo Code in October – the third and last book of the series.

 

How Do I Connect These Books?

Brotherhood ConspiracyI created for myself an aggressive one-year marketing plan starting in December, 2014. The plan includes a month-by-month listing of what I will do to help accelerate the sales of the first two books, including a commitment to create a consistent social media presence, to produce a monthly newsletter (I have over 1,000 active email addresses in my mailing list) and to personally undertake a series of other marketing initiatives over the next year.

I included in that plan some requests for Kregel to join in this marketing effort. The team at Kregel has been wonderful to work with over the past several years and I deeply appreciate all they have done to support and promote my books. It’s been a great partnership and, because of that relationship, I believed it was acceptable to include some requests for additional support from Kregel.

Essentially, the requests of Kregel fell into two buckets:

  1. What can we do to link the books together as a series to create some momentum and expectation in the short-term for The Aleppo Code launch next fall?
  2. And what additional promotional effort is realistic for Kregel to invest in marketing the first two books over the next twelve months?

There’s No Harm in Asking!

I was thrilled when Kregel responded to this marketing plan, and my requests, with four major initiatives they were willing to undertake:

  1. The Jerusalem Prophecies series title has been added to the ONIX data feed that Kregel provides to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. for the book’s online pages and will be used in all promotions.
  2. Kregel will create an E-Book promotion for both The Sacred Cipher and The Brotherhood Conspiracy just prior to the launch of The Aleppo Code.
  3. Kregel will implement a blog-tour for The Aleppo Code launch – but they are also considering a blog tour that provides all three books for the reviewers, so they can follow the story arc of the series.
  4. Kregel will also run a “back-list” sales special for the first two books during the October launch.

I’m told this is an unusual step for a publisher to take to invest promotional resources into back-list titles. Bless them that they did. Now it’s up to me to implement and fulfill the elements of the marketing plan.

Yikes!

February 4th: What the first three months of the plan look like.