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Tag Archives: self-published book marketing

How To Get Your Writing Noticed

Writing is fun. It’s great stress relief, a great form of entertainment and an outlet to the sometimes woes of living in the real world. You can create any type of character you want and have him/her live anyplace in the world.

 

Some writers write strictly for fun and for themselves. They don’t have the desire for others to read it however most writers do have the desire for others to read their work. In fact, most dream of being published one day.

 

The question is, is how in the world do you get your writing noticed? You know I have once again done my research and found a great article for you, don’t you?

 

Without further adieu (http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/noticed.html):

 

How To Get Noticed by Editors And Publishers:

Make Your Strengths Shine

by Shelley Wake

 

 

To be a successful writer and get noticed, being good often isn’t good enough. You have to shine. You have to have something that puts you above all others. Of course though, nobody is perfect. Everyone has faults and flaws. But everyone has talents and abilities too. What’s your talent?

 

Find your talent and focus on it. Develop it. Showcase it in your writing so it really shines through. Remember, one thing that stands out is far easier to notice than ten things that are good, but not great. Make sure your best skill stands out.

 

 

Stacey’s Story: Start With Something Special

 

I had my breakthrough while taking a break from writing. I was watching the movie Bring it On and decided to watch the bonus features. One of them was an interview with the director and he talked about how the screenplay got noticed because it opened with the cheer song. That stood out, that got their attention, that made them want to read the rest. I decided to take the same approach. I took chances with the start. I started with a letter, a poem, a snippet from a diary. It must have made the difference because with that one change, a manuscript that had been rejected 14 times got purchased. –Stacey, Novelist

 

Carmen’s Story: Use Your Strengths

 

I was told by my teachers and by readers that my dialogue was really strong. So I decided to stop hiding it away and I put it right out front. I made the first chapter of my novel almost all dialogue. It got the attention of an agent, who has since told me that the individuality of the first chapter told him that he had found a new writer with a clear sense of style. He took me on and is now trying to sell that sense of style to publishers. Even better for me, he’s not just trying to sell my first book, he’s trying to sell me as the next new thing, a young writer to look out for! –Carmen, Novelist

 

Editor Says: “Forget Modesty”

 

Writing is not a business where you can afford to be modest. You have to get in there and show what you’ve got. Whatever you do better than everyone else, show it off. Build your work around your best skill. Otherwise, you’re going to be lumped in with the rest of the writers that are good, but don’t stand out. –James, Editor

 

Editor Says: “I’m Looking for One Thing”

 

Many writers make the mistake of trying to show me everything they do well. Forget it. I’m glancing at hundreds of manuscripts a day. To catch my attention, you have to hit me between the eyes with one strong point that I can’t not notice. There will be time later to show me your other strengths. For the first contact, focus on making one clear point about yourself and make it a good one.

–Darryn, Editor

 

Susan’s Story: Is it Really a Flaw?

 

In the early days of Susan’s career, everyone advised her that she relied on dialogue too much. So she cut out the dialogue. She kept writing but found her work lacked energy. Years later, she decided to ignore all the advice. The novel came naturally to her and it was almost all dialogue. The book reviews praised her unique style and voice. Susan learned her lesson—never suppress what comes naturally to you. Remember, what comes naturally to you might be your greatest gift, not your greatest

flaw.

 

Top Six Ways to Find Your Strength

 

1. Ask other people what stands out about your work.

 

2. Read some of your best work and make a list of what makes it good.

 

3. Read through the contents of a book about writing and ask yourself if there is an area you are good at.

 

4. Think about what other people have said about your work. Are there any comments that keep being repeated?

 

5. Ask yourself what you care about when you write.

 

6. What do you like about other people’s work? Often the things you notice in other people’s work are also the things that you are good at.

 

 

© Copyright Shelley Wake. All Rights Reserved.

 

Keep it up! You are almost there. (Evin – http://www.saplingpublishing.com)

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Book Marketing – Changes to Facebook

I must admit that I don’t keep on top of Facebook as a social media marketing tool much anymore. Due to their rapidly changing nature, I find it hard to follow their constant new endeavors. I’m not knocking them for this. I mean, we all have to make money somehow. Right? One of my clients asked a question however that forced me to do more research on their latest changes (thanks Christa!), which is a good thing. Now at least I’ll know what I’m talking about the next time a client asks me a question about them. 😉

I found at article written by Fidel Martinez (http://www.dailydot.com/news/facebook-paid-friend-posts-promotion-reach/). Hopefully this will answer some of your questions too:

“Facebook is tripling down on its Promoted Posts feature, confirming that it has begun rolling out the option of letting its users pay to to highlight their friends’ post.

The feature has been much maligned since it was first introduced in May 2012 for companies and then later for everyone else in October 2012.  

Among the feature’s biggest critics are the popular blog Dangerous Minds and actor George Takei, who assert that the company is purposefully throttling the reach of each post in order to force brands (and now, individuals) to pay to maintain the same level of exposure they once enjoyed.

Facebook has contested these accusations, claiming that their EdgeRank algorithm was designed to only show the most compelling content on a user’s news feed. They also stated that on average, brands reached 16 percent of their audiences. But a November 2012 study conducted by media investment management group GroupM claimed that the figure was closer to 10 percent.

When asked about the target audience for this feature—in other words, who would pay to promote their friends’ content?—a Facebook representative provided us with the following scenarios when this feature would come into play:

“If your friend is running a marathon for charity and has posted that information publicly, you can help that friend by promoting their post to all of your friends. Or if your friend is renting their apartment out and she tells her friends on Facebook, you can share the post with the people you and your friend have in common so that it shows up higher in news feed and more people notice it.”

Currently, the option to pay to promote your friends’ post is only available to people who have fewer than 5,000 friends or subscribers.

To use the feature, simply go to the top right corner of a given post and click on the drop down menu and click on the “Promote and Share” option.

You’ll then be able to add your own comment. Just hit publish, and the post will appear on your friends’ feeds.

The cost to promote another person’s content will be $7, the same amount Facebook charges to push your own posts.

The company also stresses that this new feature will respect the privacy settings of the original poster.

This is the latest in a string of attempts by Facebook to find new sources of revenue amid skepticism about the value of the company’s ad business. Since the social network became a publicly traded company in May 2012, it has experimented with various ways of making money from its 1 billion users, including adding the option to pay $1 to send a message to anyone’s private inbox.”

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Indie Author of the Week

TGIF, my loyal readers. Hope you have some awesome weekend plans in the works. If you’re like me, you are planning on getting out and enjoying some sunshine. At least I think the sun is going to shine in Oregon this weekend. Regardless, it’s the weekend so who cares?

Notice how I alternate between Indie Author of the week and Indie Book of the week? Indie “book” simply means that they have at least one book that rocks. Indie “author” means that I personally feel the author has some serious potential to make it big.

So without further adieu, my Indie Author of the Week is Mason McCann Smith. This guy rocks. Trust me when I tell you to purchase one or all of his books because you’ll be glad you did. I had the pleasure of discussing books and writing over a cup of coffee with Mason last week. He’s not only an amazing author, but a very interesting, cool guy. I started reading, “The Stained Glass Virgin” last night and let me say that I’m enjoying it.

I do want to add that he’s had a book published by Random House, so he’s familiar with the process of traditional publishing.

You can buy his books and find out more about him here: www.madscavenger.com. He also offers services for writers, so add him to your list.

Have a great weekend! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Amanda Hocking – An indie mega author

I would imagine that most of you have heard of Amanda Hocking. If not, stop what you are doing and Google her. Right now! You will find that she is an indie wonder and should be an inspiration for all of you who are working hard on your novels. Although this is an older interview (2011), I thought it would be a great read.

(Tonya Plank – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tonya-plank/meet-mega-bestselling-ind_b_804685.html):

Amanda Hocking is really something of a wunderkind. At only 26 years old, the Minnesota native has written a total of 17 novels. Since self-publishing eight of those books in April 2010, she’s sold over 185,000 copies, making her indie publishing’s latest star. Most of us are familiar with J.A. Konrath, who, after self-publishing several of his unpublished novels in ebook form and realizing how much more money he could make on his own than with a traditional publisher, became indie publishing’s most vocal champion. But many are quick to point out that Konrath had already been traditionally published when he decided to self-publish, so he already had an established fan base. Hocking, on the other hand, was an unknown, until April 2010.

Here is my interview with Ms. Hocking.

TP: You write a couple of bestselling series – young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Can you give us an overview of those series, what they’re about and their themes?

AH: I have three series out now – My Blood Approves is the first one I released, and it’s about vampires in Minneapolis. There are four books in that series, plus a novella. My other series, the Trylle Trilogy, has the first two books out now, with the third book coming out soon, and that’s my best selling series. Hollowland is the only book I have out now in a series about zombies. This one has a really tough heroine, but it’s still romance-y.

TP: You began self-publishing these series in April 2010, correct? How many copies have you sold at this point?

AH: As of Tuesday, January 04, 2011 at 9 PM, I’ve sold over 185,000 books since April 15, 2010.

TP: And are the sales a combination of ebooks and print books?

AH: Yes, they are, but the majority is ebooks through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’ve sold about 2,000 paperbacks since October, and prior to October, I sold maybe 20-50 paperbacks.

TP: Where all are your books available?

AH: All eight of my books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Several of them are available at the iBookstore and Sony ereader stores, but I have to upload them through Smashwords there, so it takes longer to get them uploaded there. All my paperbacks are available through Amazon only.

TP: How long did it take for sales to really take off?

AH: I published to Kindle in April, and I haven’t sold less than 1,000 books a month since May. So my sales took off somewhat quickly. They didn’t really start to explode until November. I published the second book in my Trylle Trilogy mid-November, and my sales really began to take off after that.

TP: When did you begin writing, and what inspired you to become a writer?

AH: I was always writing. When I was a little kid, before I learned how to write, I would tell stories. But as soon I as capable, I started writing. I filled notebooks and notebooks until I got my first computer when I was 11. It never really occurred to me that I would do anything else.

TP: Who are your favorite writers, or filmmakers or artists, or anyone else who inspires your writing?

AH: I think I draw most inspiration from writers like Richelle Mead and filmmakers like John Hughes. They both really understand the experience of being a teenager and how insistent and intense everything feels, but they’re also smart, savvy, and fun.

TP: Have you been published before or done any previous writing, or is this your first experience being published?

AH: This is my first experience being published. I did publish books through Lulu prior to going to Kindle in April, but I sold zero copies. I did it so I could get copies of my books for my mother to read, but I didn’t think self-publishing was a viable option. The first I ever sold a copy of anything I’d written was in April 2010.

TP: Do you have any “training” as a writer? Did you take any workshops or college classes?

AH: I’ve taken every writing class I’ve had available. I took classes in high school, and I took English and writing classes in community college, but I dropped out of college. I also attended a local writing workshop two years ago.

TP: What made you decide to self-publish? Did you try to go the traditional route at all or did you know from the get-go you wanted to be an indie?

AH: I tried to be traditionally published for about eight years. For years, I’ve listened to a lot of indie music and watched a lot of indie films. In high school, I was obsessed with IFC. But when it came to writing, I never thought it would possible to go that way.

Everything I’d heard about self-publishing is that it was impossible to make a living, reach readers, or produce a quality product. But last year, I heard about how some other authors like Joe Konrath and Karen McQuestion are doing well with ebooks. So I thought that I had nothing to lose. I’d written about 12 books when I decided to self-publish, and I thought it would be better than them sitting on my computer. Worst case scenario, nobody would read them, and that’s what was happening anyway.

TP: You’re so young and you have such an extensive body of work already! What is your daily writing routine?

AH: I don’t really have one, haha. I haven’t exactly figured out how to get into a writing routine yet. I’ve always kind of wrote when I wanted to. Once I get the idea in my head and get it outlined out, I usually just sit and write until it’s done.

So much has happened so quickly, it’s really hard for me to have established a routine yet. Most of my day is spent on the computer, though.

TP: Do you have a day job, or did you have a day job before you became a bestselling author? Or did you start writing right out of school?

AH: I worked full-time in group homes for people with disabilities for the past five and a half years, so the majority of my writing was done then. In high school and right out of high school, I worked as a dishwasher, and then I went to work at the group home. I always wrote in my spare time, but I had to pay the bills, so I had to keep my day job. Until August 2010. That’s the first time I made enough money off my writing that I didn’t need to work anymore, so I’ve been writing full-time since then.

TP: What has been your strategy for marketing and publicizing your books?

AH: I didn’t really have a strategy. I think one of the advantages I have is that stuff considered marketing is stuff that I do a lot anyway. I’ve been active on social networks and blogs for years.
I also send ARCs [advance review copies] out to book bloggers. Book bloggers are a really amazing community, and they’ve been tremendously supportive. They’ve definitely been a major force that got my books on the map.

When I first published, I did do a bit of promoting on the Amazon forums, but they’re not really open to that, so I haven’t really interacted there much at all in months. I hang out Goodreads, Kindleboards, Facebook, Twitter, and I blog. And that’s about it.

TP: How do you handle the editing? Do you hire your own editor or do you use beta readers?

AH: I’ll be honest – when I first started publishing in April, I thought my editing was fine. The first book I published – My Blood Approves – had been read by me about fifty times and also read and edited by about twenty other people. So I thought that all the grammar errors would be taken care of. But I was wrong.

Since then, I’ve tried to utilize beta readers and hire people. But so far, people are still finding errors. It’s not from lack of effort on my part, though.

I am now looking for a professional editor – as in the kind I would get if my book were to go through a publishing house. What I find most frustrating about editing and being indie is that everything else I can do myself. Writing, covers, marketing, etc. But I cannot edit properly myself. It’s just not possible.

TP: You’re now published by a traditional publisher in at least one European country, right? Have any of your books been released there yet?

AH: I haven’t been published yet. I’ve had some offers and some deals made, but the books haven’t officially been printed or put on the shelves yet. I am really interested to see how it all goes when it’s done.

TP: You’re now represented by a literary agent, correct?

AH: Yes, I am represented by Steve Axelrod. He became my agent in August, after I’d been approached by foreign publishers.

TP: What are your publishing goals at this point? Do you want to continue self-publishing here in the U.S. while your agent works on selling the foreign rights to your books?

AH: I don’t know what my goals are right now. Everything has already far surpassed my original goals, and it’s hard for me to figure out what can happen next. I do plan to continue self-publishing, but I’m not turning my back to traditional publishing.

As amazing as this ebook revolution has been, it’s still only 20-30% of the market, and I’m not going to ignore the possibilities to reach the other 70-80% of readers. However, it is hard to compete with what my books are already able to do with Kindle and PubIt.

TP: What are you working on now; do you have any soon-to-be-released books?

AH: The third and final book in the Trylle Trilogy will be out very soon (before January 15th). But that’s the only thing I know for sure right now. It’s really hard for me to set release dates, because I can publish whenever books are ready. So it just depends on how long they take to get ready. But I have many more projects I’m working on.

TP: What has been your most memorable experience in publishing so far? An early review or fan letter, getting contacted by the European publishing house?

AH: I’ve gotten several emails from wives and mothers whose husbands are gone because they’re soldiers and marines. Those ones I think really strike me the most. These people are sacrificing so much, and they’re using something I wrote to escape for a minute. And that really puts the pressure on me to put out something that’s worthy.

TP: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

AH: Write a lot, but read even more. Learn to be open to criticism. And research as much as you can before making a decision about where you want to see your writing career. The internet is filled with information that will help you become a better writer and make better decisions about publishing.

For more information on Ms. Hocking’s books, visit her website, or her author pages on Amazon and Smashwords. Her books are also available at Barnes & Noble.

You can do it too! (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Are traditional publishers dying a slow death?

I found an article on Forbes that I thought my readers my find interesting.

(Guy Kawasaki – www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2013/01/01/guy-kawasaki-to-traditional-publishers-your-days-are-numbered/):

1. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is generally detrimental to an author’s work.

Kawasaki believes that DRM constraints limit the distribution of their books. I’m not sure about that, but certainly the lack of DRM will provide more opportunities for people to read your book.

Kawasaki explains: “I focus on the joy of reading, so my advice is for authors to better monetize their IP by ensuring broad, timely, and inexpensive distribution to as much of the world as possible. Authors should trust people and not implement all sorts of heinous DRM. Life is simple: write a good book, get it out there quickly, price it reasonably, and trust your customers. ”

2. Build your personal brand before you start selling the book.

You can’t rely on publishers to promote your book anymore; Kawasaki says, it’s therefore imperative to build your own platform before the book is released. What he means is to build a network or community of people that are interested in your content. That way, when the book is released, you have thousands of people likely to buy it. That’s solid advice.

“The day you start writing is the day you should start building your brand,” Kawasaki suggests.

3. The secret for increasing an author’s odds for success are…

According to Kawasaki:One method that no one uses, though it’s hardly a secret, is to solicit feedback on your outline and your draft. I solicit feedback from literally millions of people who follow me on social media by uploading the entire outline of a book when I begin writing. Then I offer the full manuscript to anyone who wants to edit it near the end of the process. This yields two great results. First, lots of insightful feedback. Second, the moment your book is available on Amazon, people who have really read it can post reviews.”

This is a big idea – by crowdsourcing the editing of the book, you become invested in its success. You’re also more likely to buy it and recommend it to others.

4. You are your best marketing asset, but don’t forget the PR company.

For most of the book, Kawasaki and co-author Shawn Welch suggest authors need to “own the marketing” whether or not they self-published or work with a publisher.

“The lesson is that you need to conduct an introduction campaign that reaches out to hundreds of publications as well as your social-media following. I’m not suggesting firing a shotgun into the cyberspace, but there are probably 200 relevant targets for any genre. ”

5. How to navigate the Amazon

Kawasaki and Welch both believe Amazon has amassed an enormous amount of power in the publishing world: “When it comes to publishing, this is Amazon’s world, and the rest of us (readers, authors, and publishers) live in it.”

Pretty cool, huh? (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Persistence

We’ve all had those days. In fact, I’m having one today. You know…those, “I don’t want to get out of bed days.” Yeah, that would be me today but that’s beside the point. As I pull myself up and out of it, I’m going to pull you along with me. Here’s a good article I found that should gives us the boost we need (taken from Scott H. Young at: http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2008/07/10/building-your-persistence-levels. For the full article, go to his site):

Building Persistence

Enough talk about what persistence is, how do you build it?  Part of persistence is just improving your self-discipline.  Increasing the level of what you can resist mentally and emotionally before you collapse.  While self-discipline is important in the short-term, I don’t think it is as critical for goals that last years and decades.

Instead, I think the way to improve persistence is to enhance the two forces that make it up.  Either by increasing your intrinsic enjoyment of the pursuit, or increasing your resolution that giving up is unbearable.

Finding Intrinsic Enjoyment

The first step to this is easy; don’t work on goals you can’t enjoy.  Don’t start a business if you don’t like the customers.  Don’t start a training regimen if you hate the gym.  Don’t enter a faculty if you don’t like the subject.

The second step is to find ways to enjoy the work, regardless of the feedback.  In many ways, this can be as simple as becoming aware of what you’re doing.  It can be easy to become so obsessed with feedback (i.e. motivated) that you completely lose sight of what you’re doing in the current moment.

If I had a bad month at the gym, where my strength levels declined, that might start to cloud out the fact that I actually like going to the gym.  The same is true of learning, running this business or my social life.

The solution is to switch your focus back on the tasks and let the results fade out of your thinking.  Get back to focusing on what you’re actually doing, and enjoying it, instead of obsessing about the numbers.  Focusing on numbers can be important for results, but that’s only when you’re actively making a new plan.  When you’re actually working, it’s usually better to focus on the work and forget the outcomes.

Avoiding the Alternative

The alternate way to boost your persistence is to accept that the alternative, to you, is less desirable.  I’ve written previously, that my goal is to run an online-based business full-time.  Only recently have I started to approach that goal.  In the past, there were many months when I completely lacked positive feedback that I was going in the right direction.

During that motivational crisis, the thing that helped me persist was that I knew struggling at this goal was better than the alternative of giving up.  I knew that I would always be driven towards the goal, so it was better to work towards and fail, than it was to sit back and wonder if I would have succeeded.

This approach may not sound too inspirational, but it works.  When you’re facing a dry-spell of motivation, it can be hard to summon up the optimism to believe things will get better soon.  But you can always compare the alternatives of giving up entirely with continuing through adversity.

I started this discussion yesterday, by referencing an article Cal Newport wrote about the danger of starting without commitment.  Since most worthwhile goals will have large gaps without feedback, it’s absolutely essential that your engines are running on more than just enthusiasm.  Persistence is the back-up fuel that can get you through the vacuums.

Whew. I feel better now. Don’t you? (Evin – http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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How to promote your book on a low budget

Remember I mentioned that I would give you tips on how to promote your book on a low or shoestring budget? Welcome to the first in my series.

Does the word “touring” scare you as an indie author? Do you see nothing but dollar signs and high credit card debt running through your head? Many indie authors do BUT, this does not have to be the case and yes, you CAN promote your book without raking up the credit card debt and in fact, you can actually tour for FREE. Yes, for free.

Let me introduce the *drum roll* blog tour! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the blog tour. This is a free and exciting way to promote your book. BEFORE I delve into this, let me warn you of one thing. You will find services out there that want to charge you to set up your blog tour. The costs can be big. I found one that offers a paid consultation and then $1000 down to even begin the start of your blog tour. This is not necessary. Should you choose to pay someone to help you, find someone that has legit references that you can contact AND, does not charge you an arm and a leg so to speak.

I’m going to share a video from Stacy Cochran, a self-published author. He will explain blog tours from his own experience, along with other low cost book marketing ideas. It’s about 20 minutes long but well worth the listen!

Happy blog touring!

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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