Tag Archives: author

Ten Steps to Building a Killer Author’s Platform

Score!

Today I wrangled author Jennifer Bardsley to chat to you about social media. Jennifer, besides having a kick-butt first name, has an awesome media platform. Let’s see how she does it!

Take it away, Jennifer!

swish swivel sparkle

The main character of my book Genesis Girl is a teenager named Blanca who has never been on the Internet.

Her lack of a digital footprint makes her so valuable that she gets auctioned off to the highest bidder.


My name isn’t Blanca. It’s Jennifer Bardsley, aka “The YA Gal” and I’m on the web all the time chatting about books on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social media can be confusing. But book marketing from the couch beats braving TSA lines at the airport to fly to a convention or conference and hope for sales. Social media can be an author’s best friend—and biggest time suck.

Here are my top ten tips for using social media in an effective way to build up the best online presence possible:

  1. Pick two platforms you love, and go from there. If Twitter isn’t your thing, it will show in your tweeting. If you’re a wretched photographer, your Instagram feed will be crap. Don’t invest effort in a social media outlet you don’t enjoy.
  2. Analyze demographics. In general, a younger crowd hangs out on Instagram and Snapchat, whereas older readers might be on Facebook. If you’re a cozy mystery author, you might want to veto Instagram and pursue Facebook instead. YA authors might want to target YouTube. Find the social media platform that best matches your intended audience.
  3. Call people by name. Effective users of social media understand the importance of building relationships. Don’t just respond with “Thanks for the comment,” take that extra five seconds to add “Thanks for the comment, Stephanie.”
  4. Crack the algorithms. Just because you have 20,000 people following you doesn’t mean that all 20,000 people will see every post. Sometimes 500 people will see that cute kitten meme you shared, and sometimes 100,000 people will see it. It all depends on how much engagement your post receives. On Facebook this means likes, comments, and shares. On Instagram the goal is hearts and comments. Crack the algorithm and both platforms will allow more people to see your content.
  5. Only talk about your own book one tenth of the time. Nothing turns off potential followers faster than blatant self-promotion.
  6. Study hashtags. Twitter hashtags can sometimes have a very short half-life and you have to keep your eye on what is trending in order to participate in conversations and stay on top of the crest of popularity. On Instagram hashtags live forever. Some hashtags like #boosktagram are so gigantic that unless you are famous you will never score in the top posts for those hashtags. Smaller hashtags like #booksandperfume might give you more visibility. On Facebook, hashtags aren’t very common and if you include a bunch of hashtags you’ll look like a noob.
  7. Don’t ignore BookTube. Any author who is older than thirty did not grow up with YouTube and might view the BookTube audience as an afterthought. But if you ask a thirteen–year-old who his favorite YouTube personality is, that teenager can probably rattle off ten people. Learn who the top BookTubers are at the moment and also make friends with the smaller ones who might be interested in giving your book attention.
  8. Understand your brand as an author. Your social media platform is not a place to share pictures of your kids, vacations, or laundry pile you need to fold. Dog pictures are okay, especially if you have a pug or poodle. Cats make great #Caturday photos. But beyond that your accounts should represent reading, writing, and things that are of interest to your readers.
  9. Ignore what I just said about not posting pictures of your kids, if family is part of your brand. Some authors create very successful brands based on snippets they share of their family life. But it has to be done in a clever way.
  10. Have fun! If social media is a chore for you, than your lack of enthusiasm will show. Keep searching until you find the social media outlet that makes you excited about logging on.

 


About Genesis Girl

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Purchase Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks


 

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, “Genesis Girl” is available from Month9Books, with the sequel releasing in 2017. “Genesis Girl” is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 20,000 followers on Facebook, and 14,000 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Thanks for hanging out today, Jennifer!

Oh, WAIT! There’s a Giveaway until July 2, 2016 click here for a chance to win one of five copies of Genesis Girl! 

 

 

 

Why aren’t you querying those finished novels?

A few days ago I shared a list of all my upcoming projects on social media. It looked something like this:

Here’s what’s coming down the pike:

  • Ashes in the Sky {Fire in the Woods #2} (In production Release date March 1)
  • Fire in the Woods #3 (Contracted: In developmental edits. Release date TBD)
  • YA Science Fiction (95% complete Work in Progress)
  • Adult Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens) Mystery/Horror (First draft complete)
  • Adult Paranormal (Shifters) novel written in serial (Uncontracted: Number one complete)
  • YA Dystopian Romance (Uncontracted, Complete)
  • YA Space Opera – 8 book series (First draft complete)
  • Middle Grade Contemporary Adventure (First draft complete)
  • Hard Sci Fi Space Opera three book series (First Draft of all three books complete)

 

Outlined concepts prepped, outlined, and ready to be written:

  1. Adult/New Adult Fantasy-Medieval setting
  2. YA Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens)
  3. Adult/YA Shifter (Dragons) First chapter written
  4. YA Time Travel (Aliens) First chapter written
  5. YA/New Adult Contemporary Science Fiction (Aliens)

 

A few people have asked why I have two complete novels, and four “First Draft complete” while it looks like I am currently working on something completely new.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t realize how many things I had partially finished until I created this list. For me, the fun of creating a story is the best part. I love starting a story, and torturing my heroes to the very end of the tale. So much fun!

Usually, by the time I finish a first draft, I’ve already outlined several new ideas that I came up with along the way. Some of these I take a few notes on, and then never go back to. But many, like the five above, get 7000-10000 word outlines, because I love the premise so much that I don’t want to lose even a single spec of the idea.

Unfortunately, I cannot type anywhere near as fast as my brain works, and that list of stories to write keeps getting longer.

Basically, when the time comes to write a new book, I just pick one from the list. Sounds easy. But sometimes there are several stories screaming at me, and even after I choose, a different story keeps me awake at night.

It all comes down to my writing process, which I love… but the business of publishing usually gets in the way of the fun part. That’s why I have so many first drafts right now.

When I finished this post, it was over 800 words long. I was going to talk about my writing process, but I’m going to leave that for my next post. I think this will explain some of the insanity of my current “too many almost-finished books” situation.

See you next time!

 

cropped-cropped-website-1-1-logo.jpgcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

Flames longFlames longFlames longFire in the Woods Cover

You can find Fire in the Woods at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |

Flames longFlames longFlames long

Alien Lineup

Catch up with me on social media!

Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture
Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture

Book Signings – Nobody’s there? Isn’t somebody supposed to be there?

This is soooooo darn funny.  I guess it’s something we all have to go through, but it is like your worst nightmare.  So well done.

Hope your days are full of fun times. And if you see an author at a book signing, please stop by and say hi. We won’t bite!

(Well, not all of us, anyway.)

cropped-cropped-website-1-1-logo.jpgcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

Flames longFlames longFlames longFire in the Woods Cover

You can find Fire in the Woods at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |

Flames longFlames longFlames long

Alien Lineup

Catch up with me on social media!

Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture
Picture Picture Picture Picture Picture

Sometimes, no matter how tight the deadline, you need to just stop and pick up a pencil

I thought I was home free when I got a one month extension on my deadline.

I even used one day of my Writer’s Retreat weekend to start a new project. But now, with one more week to go on that deadline, I’m getting a little nervous.

Arghhh! PictureIt’s over-used words.

They are killing me.

It takes hours, sometimes days to remove a single word from the manuscript (I try not to repeat the same word within ten pages, but I’ve had to do every five pages on some of these)

But that’s not what this post is about.

Last night after dinner I settled in to my desk for a marathon editing session. My computer was just booting up when my eleven-year-old son came in and asked if I would teach him to draw a dragon.

Part of me wanted to say “No, Mommy has to work.”

But what good is life if you can’t spend a little time with your son?

So I broke out the drawing pencils, and we called up a YouTube video tutorial on drawing dragons.

We had a good laugh at how fast this lady could draw, and we had to stop it several times, but about an hour and a half later, we both had beautiful dragon pictures, and big smiles on our faces.

dragons

It was a wonderful time with my son (reminding me of when my oldest and I took Manga lessons together a few years ago)

So, I’m taking a few minutes before getting back to my editing to write this post and remind you that there are more important things in life than making your deadlines.

Of course, sleep is not one of them… so it’s going to be a very late night for me.

It’s okay. My son is worth it.

cropped-website-thinner-top.jpg

cropped-fire-banner-final2.png

It’s marketing time! More blog posts and interviews, less novel writing.

While I was on vacation, dreaming about getting back and leisurely finishing ASHES IN THE SKY, my publicist sent over my blog tour interviews and guest post requests.

Just_Breathe

After reviewing them (14 in all so far) I decided to write “just a little” of ASHES IN THE SKY per day to keep myself going, and bust out the marketing for FIRE IN THE WOODS as soon as I can (They are all due back by September 15th)

I cringe when I think of it, because my original goal was to finish ASHES IN THE SKY before my vacation.  Then I moved the goal day to a week after vacation when I got bogged down with the edits. Right now that deadline doesn’t look all that rosy either.

Sigh

But I will not be thwarted!  I am doing my best to write clean copy. I am hoping that all I will have to do is general insertion of emotion and setting. Hopefully there will be no huge changes or additions to be made, but I won’t know until I send this puppy out to my beta readers to be slapped around a bit.

As it stands now, I am just turning the corner into act three.  The third and final act should be a roller-coaster ride and easy plot-wise to write, but hard in the “action” department.  I probably only have about 10,000-20,000 words to go.  I can do this. I just need to keep plugging away.

JenniFer_EatonFFire in the Woods Revised Cover

When the edits are finally over… Whew!

Edits are finally done for FIRE IN THE WOODS. Part of me breathes a sigh of relief, while the other part of me cringes in horror.

This was a multi-faceted process, which would have been much easier if I was not writing book two, ASHES IN THE SKY at the same time under a very stringent deadline. I work great under pressure, but not always great under double pressure.

Book Left1Developmental Edit

Anyway, step one was the Developmental Edit. This was not all that hard. There were two minor changes… one that took a half-hour phone conversation with my editor until we worked it out… but really minor for the overall story. #1 was ramping up the father’s reaction at one point, and #2 was giving Jess a little more of a reason to be afraid of another character. Overall, easy fixes.

Book Right1General Editing

After the developmental edit we went through three rounds of general editing for flow, readability and stuff like that. Here is where I found all those words that were repeated. This was the most painstaking part for me.

Book Right1Proofreading

After this we went through three FULL READS of the novel front to back looking for typos, mis-spelled words, improper punctuation and the like. THIS is the part that scares me. I found errors each time I read it (after correcting what I found the previous time). This really stresses me out because being a perfectionist; I would like to have been able to read through front to back without finding any typos. All I can do at this point is hope and pray I found them all. (And maybe bite off a few nails)

So, I leave for vacation knowing that my work is done, and all I need to do now is worry about book two… and reapplying sun screen.

_JenniFer____EatoNcropped-fire-banner-final2.png

 

Editing Under Pressure. Yes, It can be done #1

My first round edits came back for FIRE IN THE WOODS, which has been contracted with a three-month deadline to publication.  I took a deep breath, knowing that the completed edits were due back in FIVE DAYS.

Yikes!

I was pretty surprised, though.  This is the content edit phase, and they asked for very few changes.  In one spot, they thought the father should have reacted more quickly.  I fixed this simply by editing the dialog a smidge.

The next thing they said, which made me sweat a little, was that they didn’t buy the reason why my MC was afraid of another character. So I thought this over, and realized they were right when they said it felt like a forced conflict.  I really hadn’t developed that secondary character at all. He was too flat, and had no history.

Soooo

So I thought over why she might be afraid of him, and gave him a 100 word history based on a strategically placed inner thought/flashback.  I have to admit, this little change really gave both the MC and the secondary character depth.

Another thing I had to fix was a product of the multiple revisions this manuscript has seen over time.  Jess comes to a conclusion about “what’s going on” with no reason for it.  After thinking it over, she had a very good reason to come to this conclusion. The problem was, I never let the reader in as to HOW she came to this conclusion.  Again, an easy fix with a simple inner thought right before she comes to that little epiphany that drives the story onward.

The other changes were simple. A missing word here or there.

Then I hit the OMG part. And I will admit, this was totally MY DOING. In the spirit of always keeping my posts short, I’ll tell you all about it in my next segment. This is something I usually check for. I don’t even know how I missed it.

JenniFer_EatonF

SUCCESS! Holy Sh— Um— Wow! BEST WEEK EVER!

Okay, I admit, I am a Twitter stalker. Some people make it easy. They use Twitter as a method to voice what they are feeling about everything from the weather to really important stuff… like editors reading submissions.

A few days ago, the editor that has had my manuscript for quite a while tweeted:

“Catching up on subs. Really like the voice and story in the YA scifi I’m reading, It’s from March. I’m so far behind.”

I tensed. My sub is a YA Sci Fi.  And I submitted in March.  I’d be lying if I did not admit my head went ka-blooey!


A few hours later an email popped up from the same editor.

Nothing definite, just a note to say she was reading AND ENJOYING my manuscript.

How_stinking_cool_is_that

Okay, deep breath. That’s good. Really good. Fingernails are now officially non-existent. Let’s hope she doesn’t have an explosion phobia!

At one o’clock in the morning the next day she tweeted:

“Stayed up late to finish a manuscript I will offer on tomorrow. Really love this story.”

Now, I’m really glad I was fast asleep at one o’clock in the morning, because there would have been no sleeping that night for me if I had read this when she tweeted it.

PKO_0001147The next morning I woke to an email sent just after that Tweet. She’d stayed up late reading because she couldn’t put it down.

Yes!!!

Now let me tell you. Spam filters can be evil. E.V.I.L. because after almost a whole day, thank goodness, she poked me to make sure I got the contract offer.

“Umm, no.”

Resend is a wonderful thing.

I spent the next half hour reading and re-reading everything she had to say about my book.  I mean, you have dreams about people going on and on about how great your work is, but you never really expect it to happen. Especially from an editor with such a great reputation in the business. I was numb. Completely numb.

Wow. Just Wow

An editor at my target publisher loves my story just as much as I do. She loves my quirky voice, and the themes blew her away. (Literally, in some cases).

Wow.__I_mean_REALLy_Wow!_00000

Now on to the nitty gritty. I hope I will have exciting news to share with everyone really soon.

_JenniFer____EatoN

Rejection. Sometimes coming to grips is harder than others.

Like everyone, I’ve had a lot of rejections. Usually form rejections. I brushed myself off and moved on. But none of them stung as badly as this one.

83 days— twenty three days over their posted “get back to you” deadline, all leading to a form rejection.

Rejection.

Wow. I was speechless. Took me a while to get over it. I mean, I understand that publishers are busy, but when they have had the manuscript so long that they probably read the whole thing, and maybe even had several people read it, and then getting a form rejection?????

Ouch.

I’d just love to know— was it good enough? Did they have two alien novels on their desk that were great, and someone flipped a coin? Do they have an explosion phobia? Do they not like the color purple? What was it?

It took me a full day to get over this. Once I did, I dusted myself off and started reading my novel from page one.

Picking myself up, and getting back to it.

You know what?  I was amazed. After not reading my novel for several months, I found myself instantly engrossed, and stunned when I realized “Hey, I actually wrote this.”

I know why the publisher had it so long, now.

It’s good. Damn good.

I was probably rejected for one of those silly reasons you read about… like they already signed a sci-fi this month, or someone spilling their coffee or something.

My novel just needs to find the right person. Someone who loves the idea as much as I do.

I’m fine. I’ll get there. Patience has never been my strong suit. In the immortal words of Yoda “You must learn patience.”

There is still one more publisher on my “wish list” reading my baby. Maybe they are “the one”.

So I sit back, relax, and hunker down into my new novel.

This sucker ain’t gonna get written on its own.

 

Jennifer___Eaton

Unexpected High Points While You’re Waiting on a Submission

The torment of waiting can have its high points

The clock is ticking on a manuscript I submitted now 51 days ago. Within another week (hopefully) I will hear something. It’s good they have it a long time, right? If they hated the first few pages, they would have stopped reading and rejected it by now. Right?

Right? Right? Right?

But what if they are just behind? What if the editor has been out sick, and papers have piled up? What if she gets back from a vacation or something and then just rejects everyone just to get current again!?????

Ergghhhhhh!

It can totally get to you. I swear.

Anyway, I got a bright little flicker of hope today.

In response to an earlier query, I got a request for full from another publisher I’ve targeted for their awesomeness. For non-writerly-types, that means they have asked to read the entire manuscript.

Yay!

It feels good, having my completed manuscript in the hands of two publishing houses that I have had my eye on for a while. But even with a few successes under my belt, I still bite off my nails.

Publishing is so subjective.

Woman Erg PitchforkThey could take a manuscript just because their boss yelled at them and said “More aliens!”

Likewise, they can reject a fantastic manuscript because they spilled their coffee, missed the bus, or their boss just yelled at them: “We have enough aliens!”

It can leave you pulling your hair out. I swear it can.

Go_through_the_motions

So now I am at Day 51 with one publisher, and Day One with another publisher.

And the waiting goes on.

Anyone have any antacid? I ran out a week ago.

_JenniFer____EatoN