Listen to Melissa’s appearance on the ActiveCampaign podcast. 

“Romance. Adventure. Puppies.”

Wait, did you say puppies?

She’s published over 50 books, but Melissa Storm never thought she would become a best-selling novelist.

Melissa Storm — Romance! Adventure! Puppies!(Source: melstorm.com)

She got her Master’s degree in Survey Methodology even though she loved writing. Less than two years later Melissa left the workforce…and wrote her first novel.

But she had no idea how to sell it.

The year was 2010 and self-publishing wasn’t a popular option yet. Querying an agent is a tough prospect, especially for a first-time author like Melissa.

Google how to query a literary agent.Google “how to query a literary agent.” It’s a cold, confusing world for the first-time author looking to get published.

Melissa made a decision.

“I’m done chasing agents around. They’re gonna chase me.”

Melissa started a blog and got on Twitter. Soon, her readership grew and interest “exploded.” She quickly became sought out as a social media marketing expert.

“If you force it, readers will know you’re forcing it, just like in business. If you’re not being genuine, your clients will see that.”

But a successful social media presence and a published book weren’t her endgame.

Ten years later, she:

  • Has written over 50 books.
  • Is a USA Today Bestselling Author.
  • Owns Novel Publicity, which offers marketing services to authors.

How did Melissa do this, and how is ActiveCampaign vital to her success?

A romance novelist meets ActiveCampaign, leading to an epic love story for the ages

“Coming to ActiveCampaign, as cliché as it is, was like coming home.”

When Melissa had her first breakout series, she was curious — why was it performing so well?

She decided to survey her True Fans (by phone, no less!) to better understand how she could repeat her success.

She asked her readers:

  • What did they like about her hit series, and how could she make it even better?
  • What had they liked in her less popular series, that she could use in the future?

Her next breakout series was even more successful.

“I have these two series that are doing great. How can I add something new and take what I know is working and make it even better?”

Do readers like free books? That’s a good deal. What if they’re allowed to pick those books? That’s even better.

Melissa Storm free book signup

Melissa’s welcome sequence lets her immediately tailor her reader relationship.

Melissa gives her website visitors two free books when they sign up for her newsletter – one way she collects contact information. Depending on which book they choose to download, she has different welcome series automations for onboarding them.

“My whole welcome funnel is really based on getting them to connect with me as a human. But also, read the book, because you don’t have a customer until they use your product. For authors, that’s books.”

Use the language your customers use. Discover what problems they have that you can solve.

Learn how to do this in these articles on market research:

Melissa Storm welcome funnelMelissa’s welcome funnel. She knows what readers want from her books.

How is creating automations like writing a novel?

Writing a book, like creating automations, is about crafting an experience. Melissa uses ActiveCampaign to collect the information she needs to make that experience unique for each reader.

Melissa Storm taggingTagging lets Melissa ask quick questions and store that information for later.

Melissa collects information from her readers with:

  • Tagging. “I’ll set up a conditional block for people I have tagged as Kindle readers. I know they’re a Kindle reader, and I can give them one button to click. Same for iBooks, Kobo. It’s fabulous.”
  • Launch funnels. “I usually spread mine out over a month, where there’s a combination of the announcement. “It’s here,” followed by, “Try a sample. Here’s an excerpt,” followed by, “Here’s something fun.”
  • Evergreen funnels. “You can have a perpetual launch machine…if somebody finds my series for the first time, why can’t I send them all the cool emails that I sent before that my readers loved?”

How Melissa helps authors change their perceptions — and take control — of how to market books

With chilling visions of cartons of unsold books piled in a garage — and no audience in sight — what is an author to do? Melissa created Novel Publicity to help answer the question, “How do I market my book?”

Hemingway first novelYou probably shouldn’t expect this marketing treatment for your first novel (Source: Brain Pickings).

“Oh, you’ve got your book, we’ve got it published, and we’ve got you some local PR,” explains Melissa.

Many writers then encounter a plot twist: they’re not just published authors now. They are marketers, too.

As Melissa says, “They’re terrified of marketing, of sounding like a used car salesperson about their art, and they have a hard time thinking of that art as a product.”

Melissa Storm Novel PublicityEstablished in 2011, Novel Publicity provides book marketing, editing, and formatting services for all authors, regardless of their paths to publication.

Melissa and her team provide book marketing services like:

  • Web design
  • Advertising
  • Social media management
  • Book launch packages
  • Small promotions
  • Consulting
  • Courses

At the heart of Melissa’s strategy is “creating smart newsletter automation sequences to excite readers and get them buying and reading right now.”

“It’s not easy to win my endorsement, because there’s so much noise out there…when I believe in something, I believe in it, and I believe in ActiveCampaign.”

book release email automationGet pre-orders through automating your email campaign. Schedule your book announcement, offer a free chapter, entice with a giveaway, and end when the book is released. (You can get the pre-built version of this automation by clicking here.)